A friend and I were talking a couple of weeks ago about how homesickness usually peaks around the holidays.  I don't really deal with it anymore, but homesickness can really sneak up on you.  A song.  A smell.  A cup of hot cocoa.  A slight chill in the air (it's a balmy 80 degrees right now).  It's a reminder of the sacrifices we make to live here and how there are, for better and for worse, so many tradeoffs to living overseas.  There's a lot of perks, really - escaping the hustle, the consumerism of the holidays, and no hectic travels.  But there's the family we're without, the Christmas lights we can't drive around to see, the nostalgia.  I wanted to share with you a poem that was shared with me this season, authored by a man who knew the feeling.  🎄

"Christmas is a time of family gatherings
    In the home with gladness
         United with loved ones
             The joy of togetherness
                  With others to share.

But Christmas is also a time
    Of separation – loneliness
         Often at great distance
              From those you love
                   For whom you care.

God the Son knew the pains
    Of separation from the Father’s presence
         And the glorious mansions
              To take upon Himself
                   The form of man to share.

Mary and Joseph knew the cost
    Of separation from home and friends
         To travel to a Judean town
              Which had no room for the Virgin
                    Her firstborn to bear.

The shepherds knew the meaning
    Of separation when they were left
         In the darkness
              By the radiant Heavenly Host
                  But they took to heart the message
                       And glorified God there.

The wise men knew the results
    Of separation from home and hearth
         To travel over barren hills
              To find the King of Kings
                   They knew not where.

At Christmas time when you and I
    Come to feel the tug of separation
          From those we love so dear
                Remember we are not alone
                     Others too had hearts laid bare
                           With them we share."

       - Ralph Edward Brown 1926-2017

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