Christmas @ home away from home!

Merry Christmas fam!!!

I hope that everyone had a beautiful Christmas celebration?! Did you have the opportunity to celebrate this year’s with loved ones at home? I sincerely hope that you were not lonely or separated from family, contrary to your preference?

The Christmas season represents different things to different people. 

For many, Christmas is that season that is filled with colourful lights, glittering indoor and outdoor decorations, giving and receiving of presents, lots of food, cookies and goodies, gifting the less privileged, singing of harmonious carols, spreading of love and loud cheers. 

It is very deserving and not at all surprising that we celebrate the birth of the most influential person who ever lived (Jesus Christ) at the “most wonderful time of the year.” Christmas is the time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the author of the Christian faith and without doubt, the source of the world’s greatest joy and salvation.

Now, Jesus’s birth story is quite a dramatic one, nothing like your typical birth vlog. 😃 As a summary, when Jesus’s mother, Mary was ready to put to bed, they could not find accommodation at any guest house, thanks to a decree made by the then government to conduct a census in the entire Roman world. Everyone was expected to travel back to their hometowns to get counted. 

Anyway, every hotel, AirBnB or inn were booked solid when labour pains kicked in for Mary. She and Joseph were left with no choice than to improvise! They ended up having Baby Jesus in a stable. However, none of that limited how much glory and influence that Jesus had here on earth. 😊 There is no better proof to us all that our future can be much more brighter than our past!

But I digress.

One of the things that I personally associate the Christmas holiday with is HOME – family, reunion, loved ones. Growing up, irrespective of where we had been all year round, as much as possible, we came home to our parents during Christmas. Or we would all travel back home to my parents’ hometown to meet our extended family. And you can picture how much hugs, catch-up stories, good food and love went round. This was Christmas holiday to me! We went back after the break with our love-tanks brimming!

I remember one Christmas, about 10 years ago, when I had to spend it away from home. I was an intern with a petroleum refinery and as you may know, industrial plants do not exactly take Christmas breaks. That kind of nonstrategic downtime could cause the company to lose thousands of dollars by the hour! Therefore, work continued through the holiday. It wasn’t terrible, to be honest; I recall that I was on night-duty that day, haha! And the company sweetened the deal by providing food and drinks for everyone who had to work during the celebrations. I remember feeling a tiny bit excited about the large chunks of chicken and the rather big juice box! I guess you could say that I experienced home away from home with my rice, chicken, fruit juice and the whirring and buzzing of large equipment units.

I recently read about a father who had to book about 5-6 flight tickets in order to be with his daughter during Christmas while she worked – I guess she is an air hostess or part of the crew. How sweet, although a friend of mine argued that they could have opted for the daughter not to work at all during the holiday and thus, save on the money used to purchase those many flight tickets. The thing is, since we do not know the full story nor the back story, I think we can all bask in the sweet sentiment of the father’s sacrifice because any opportunity within reasonable considerations to be with loved ones during this season of great joy is worth grabbing.

My heart goes out to those who, against their choosing, are unable to be with loved ones, spouses, parents/children, siblings or friends. We have had a most dynamic past (few) years since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Travel bans and constantly changing communing restrictions have come up time and again. Some are isolated because of ill-health. Others, because they couldn’t get away from work. And a good number have been bereaved and are experiencing Christmas differently as they grieve the loss.

Regardless of what your particular situation may be, I pray that God blesses you with joy and warmth wherever you are. See, I didn’t quite finish telling that story about Jesus’ birth. That night, while his parents Joseph and Mary sat beside their newborn who was wrapped in swaddle blankets and placed in a make-shift crib, surrounded by grazing livestock and hay, they received some unexpected guests – shepherds from a neighbouring field, whom they had never met before, but who divinely heard about Jesus’s birth and decided to track him down and to pay homage. 

Their visit and conversations warmed Mary’s heart on that first Christmas. It didn’t matter that she was away from home, alone with her husband and baby, far from her relatives and separated from the familiar. Somehow, on that night which was perhaps dark and cold, starry and silent except for intermittent sounds of cattle mooing, crickets chirping, and the bustling of humans in the city yonder; Mary and Joseph found comfort, hope, joy and especially, home.

Special shout out to young families like mine who had to spend Christmas by themselves – two adults with maybe some little child(ren)! How is it going, fam?! Loool! Well, you all can totally relate with Joseph+Mary+Jesus, especially if you have previously been accustomed to large family gatherings at Christmas. For me, I am choosing to look on the brighter side. For instance, in my home, we figured we might as well begin to have and enjoy our unique Christmas experiences which could become Christmas traditions down the road! Lots of possibilities!!!

This is me sending you and yours light, love and cheers! 🎄🌲✨🥰

Merry Christmas once again, and have a most prosperous 2022!!!

Trivia: My best Christmas song this year is “How Many Kings” by Downhere. Deeply meaningful lyrics and oh so melodious singing! 😊

Read the story about Jesus’ birth (the Nativity Story) here Luke 2:1 – 20.

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