There is this thing that my sister and I always talk about when it comes to different times in our lives or certain moments/memories, and most of the time people around us have absolutely no idea what we are talking about – we call it that ‘feeling.’
“Remember the feeling when we were in …
I had the best feeling when we did …
The feeling during that Christmas was …”
The feeling. I am pretty sure everyone can more or less relate to what I am talking about, but there just does not seem to be a word in the English dictionary to do justice what I am trying to communicate. And no, it is not nostalgia. Maybe partially, but it is more than remembering the joy of a moment, or the frustration of a memory, it is actually the the sense you get that encompasses the whole experience. The feeling of all the feelings. Anyways, if I try to go more into detail as to what I am trying to explain, I will just injure myself and lose the point of this blog post 😉
This is my first Christmas away from home. It really made me think about what Christmas means to me personally. Now I am not talking bout the ‘meaning of Christmas’ (as a Christ follower, this is a very special holiday that is not just about the giving of gifts, but also the celebration of the birth of Jesus – the birth that changed everything for us). I do not want to belittle how amazing Jesus’ birth is in any way, but being away from home for Christmas also made me think about why I love Christmas so much (faith aside).
It is my favourite holiday: family time, the best food, beautiful snow, Christmas lights. I find it magical.
Here in Australia, I have no family, no snow, nothing that I am used to. The ‘feeling’ that I usually get at Christmas time was gone. But then I woke up on Christmas morning to the sound of dishes clinking and the smell of incredible food. I walked into the kitchen and my housemates were preparing a beautiful breakfast for all of us.
We ate breakfast which was so delicious, and then we had a Secret Santa gift exchange between housemates. It is always a special feeling to receive a gift from someone, purchased specifically for you and what you are interested in. After that, we opened stockings that the base provided for us. It was here that it kind of hit me: here is a group of people that I just met a little over a week ago, and they welcomed me with open arms and included me in everything. My stocking was then filled with things from people not only from my house, but friends that I have within ywam. Pretty amazing to witness the spirit of generosity. Let me be real, no one at ywam is well-off. We all trust for finances to live in Perth daily, and yet gifts were still given without a second thought.
I missed my family. MAN did I miss them!! I missed the feeling I get when all of my extended family gathers at my grandparent’s home and eat dinner together. I missed the feeling of having my other side of the family sleep over, and we would wake up to my Grandpa, Uncle, and Mom cooking the most incredible breakfast. I missed the feeling of going to the mountains with just my parents, siblings, and niece, and being in the cold, fresh mountain air but cozying up in our matching Roots apparel and playing games and laughing our heads off. I missed the feeling of tradition and comfort. But then I realized, I am surrounded by incredible people. My ywam family. And I am not alone. They are all missing their family too. We all left our comfort to follow what the Lord put on our hearts – serving Him as a missionary at ywam Perth. We are all in the same place. I then had a new feeling inside me. I felt so much gratitude, so much love, and so much peace in my heart all of Christmas day. I actually enjoyed my first Christmas away from home.
I did not have the usual feeling I get during the holiday season, I had a different one. And that is good. God grew me this Christmas in showing me that I should be thankful for the people I do have in my life in Australia, the new foods I get to try and blessing the people who cooked it, the beautiful sun and sand instead of snow, and how Christmas is still magical if you choose to look at the differences with a new perspective. So thankful for this holiday and how the Lord is always present and constant even when life is not. When I look back on this Christmas in Australia, I will have a good feeling.