Christmas Away from Home
By Katie & David Czapala
December 25, 2020 will be the 5th Christmas that my husband and I have celebrated outside of the United States. To be honest, I wrestled with the topic of “Christmas Away From Home”.
The issue isn’t with Christmas. We love Christmas. I mean LLOOVVEE Christmas. Lights, baking, decorations, parties, baking, gift giving, and did I say baking? We had so many traditions. Church on Christmas Eve, an annual Christmas party, driving around looking at lights on Christmas Eve in our pajamas, Christmas movies almost every day, making piles of cookies, cupcakes and every other type of dessert for anyone who we happen to chat with in the month of December, and the decorating. Oh, the decorating. Inside and out, our house was covered top to bottom in Christmas. Light shows in the front yard, Christmas candles on the fireplace, Nativity sets in all the rooms, snowman toilet paper in the bathroom, and everything in between.
I struggled most with the thought of home. What is home? The place where we used to live? The place we live now? The place we will move to when our visa expires? If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that home is not on this Earth. We long so much for a place free from the hurt this year has caused, a place that has no uncertainty, and a place that welcomes all for eternity. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Ephesians 3:20. This year has caused us to pray often to return home, but not to the home that we used to live in, but the one I have never been to. Christmas started with the birth of Jesus and there feels like a concluding symmetry for Him to return at Christmas, as well, to take us home.
But until He returns, we will celebrate. Certainly without snow here in Sydney. Instead, we have prawns at the beach in 100F weather. Santa wears shorts and there are no crazy Christmas sweater contests. We will go to church on Christmas morning, instead of Christmas Eve. We will explain 100 times each December that Santa has nothing to do with the Bible with those celebrating their first Western Christmas. There will be lights, and decorations. And plenty of baking. Some old traditions are shared with new friends and some new traditions are started.
Christmas may look like this:
Or it may look like this:
There might be a little of this:
And plenty of this:
We are so grateful for care packages filled with memories of America and for video calls to encourage us halfway around the world. We are just as grateful for friends that have become family and invite us into their Christmas traditions. Whether you have snow or sunburn this Christmas, whether you have a Christmas Jawa (ask about the story) or gather around the Yule Goat, whether you have pavlova or a Chick-fil-A Peppermint Chip Milkshake, may you remember that you are loved by a Father that has a home for us all.
Katie and David Czapala