Not every Christmas has been this way, I have spent two Christmas’s abroad. The first one was in 2012, my first time in Seoul, Korea. I was studying at Hanshin Theological Seminary, and Christmas came near the end of the semester. It’s strange, I knew I was going home just three odd weeks later, but the season hit me hard. I missed my family, our traditions, and the ability to immerse myself in that permeated joy. I became incredibly sad, and made it through the season with the strong love and support of my (now) wife Young. She got a little tree for us, and took us to the countryside. Her kindness and understanding meant the world, but I can only imagine to reach cross-culturally and try to help me through something that would be difficult for her to comprehend, truly a feat of love and grace.
Two years later I was in Korea again, but this time I had learned. In November, I put a call out on Facebook, asking for Christmas cards to be sent to me to help me through the season, and promising a return card with a present. I had no expectations (I am not a big facebook poster, maybe no one would respond?) But after a few weeks, they started coming. In the end, it was over thirty. Some unique, and funny, with little presents, and the kindest notes of support and love, some from people I hadn’t spoken to face to face in a long time.
My sermon last week revolved around supporting someone, who in turn may support us as we progress and write new chapters in our own lives. It’s Christmas, and just like the support of people out on facebook came through for me in my time of need, I would invite each of you reading to reach out to someone as well. There is a name in the back of your mind right now, that you have considered calling/writing/e-mailing/texting for weeks, but haven’t quite gotten to that point. I’d invite you to take that last step. Trust me, it may be exactly what they are needing right now. With such selfless actions, an aura of joy can spread just that extra bit further, and reach even more people.
This Christmas, Young and I have put up our first tree, and are preparing to host some friends who have thus far in Canada yet to experience the full range of Christmas. We are joyously excited to host, and hoping not to burn the turkey (pizza places till deliver on Christmas right?) J
Best wishes to everyone!