…and I’m not one bit sorry. Last year, Christmas was awful. I couldn’t ever put my finger on it, but it was. Perhaps it was because for the first time since 2004, I found myself missing friends and family and snow and crazy shopping and cookies and carols and the Christmas Eve service at our home church, where we end in the dark, and it’s freezing cold outside and we head over to my mother-in-law’s house, and just sit around and know that we’re loved. I missed all of that so badly that it hurt.
People talk about the sacrifices that we make as missionaries. They ask whether or not we can get this certain kind of food, or our favorite candy…I’ll be honest. The physical isn’t a big deal. Sure-I love Reese’s cups as much as the next addict, and I would probably knock you down to get at the one that you just found squashed in the bottom of your purse-but it’s not about Reese’s cups or Starbucks coffee or, in my case, actual gluten-free cookies that I can buy and that actually taste good. No, in my case (and I suspect most missionaries would say this), sacrifices have faces. It’s my nieces and nephews, who don’t even know who Aunt Cyndi is, and hide behind their mama’s when I show up once every two years and want to love on them. They don’t know that crazy lady. It was missing my grandparents passing, and the ache that is still there, knowing that I can’t pick up the phone and hear their voices. It’s my friends that I only see once every couple of years. I have the most AMAZING friends. Even though I only see them every 24 months, we pick up right where we left off, and we laugh and carry on like we would if I lived there. They all have faces (beautiful faces) and not having them in my life daily just sucks swamp water.
This year, I decided that Christmas was going to be different. It’s going to be good, and fun, and worshipful…we are going to embrace every bit of it. I still miss my family, and my friends, and snow, and freezing cold, and crazy shopping, and especially Christmas season in our home church…but this year I am going to put that aside.
I started putting my Christmas decorations up this weekend…and I’m not a bit sorry.