Thursday, December 23, 2010


Christmas in Laos is subtle. Everyday I forget that Christmas is coming, and then every day Jennie and I look at each other and say, “Oh yeah! Christmas.” I love the holiday here because it doesn’t slap me across the face every time I walk into a mall, or demand my attention through shopping lists, talking Santas, or radio advertisements. There are no decorations to speak of, there are palm trees in view from the back porch, and the weather is still warm enough to break a sweat. I won’t even hear festive music unless I turn it on or sing it.

Christmas is quiet, hidden. It’s there for those who know where to look; otherwise the rest of the country will go about the day in normal working fashion. It reminds me of the first Christmas, shared only by those who had the ears to hear and believe angels, the foolhardiness to follow a star, and the eyes to look for a little bundle tucked away in a hole in the earth. It’s a day, in many ways like any other, to pause and remember, to be grateful for Immanuel—God with us.

Many of my friends call me a scrooge; and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always have the fondest feelings for Christmas. But I don’t hate Christmas. I just don’t like it western style. I prefer the subtlety, raw beauty and awe with all the clamoring bells and whistles stripped off. So this year I think I’ll be stopping to enjoy it. Jennie, Eric and I will get creative in the kitchen on Christmas Eve, and Christmas day we’ll stay in our pajamas, share simple gifts with the kids, keep the gate locked, and watch holiday movies. It may just be the quintessential holiday.

For all of you at home, of course I miss you. I’ll miss digging for costumes with my siblings for our living nativity Christmas morning. I’ll miss eggnog and conversations by the fireplace. Your smiles and hugs. Snow. I’ll even miss my helping of sweet potato casserole. But I won’t miss the clamor or piles of wrapping paper. I’ll think of you all tucked in snuggly with your families and my heart will assure you that I will be home soon… but not quite yet. And I’ll wish you all a Merry Christmas—in the subtlest of ways.

1 comment:

Husker6 said...

Merry Christmas Danielle... imagine me playing bells and whistles for you right now!!!!!!!
For me.... that first Christmas ushered in a life that was anything but quiet and hidden. For example the world's measuring of our year is set up because of this little baby....soon to be 2011. On the day he died the sky turned black and a curtain tore in two..... not something that can have quiet beginnings!! I believe that "star" was a site to behold.... nothing had ever been seen like that before.... surely it wasn't quiet or hidden.
For me.... everything about this season (lights, gifts, trees) points to our need for the "Word to become flesh"!! Enjoy it and celebrate it.... obviously in your own way... but don't keep it hidden!! Rejoice for "God is with us".
The world can't deny it even though they will try.
Even Scrooge eventually saw his need to change his heart!
Merry Christmas Danielle!!!! Looking forward to seeing you soon. Becky