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Christmas away from home

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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For the first time ever, I was too far away to go home for Christmas. A college student in London, I made plans to spend the holidays traveling with a friend. We ended up at the home of her German relatives, who warmly urged us to stay for Christmas. The prospect seemed bright until the morning after our arrival.

My friend's cousin worked in a new hospital nearby, and he insisted on giving us a tour. I retreated to our guest room, distressed. My mother had passed on exactly two years before, after a long hospital stay. I didn't feel I could face going into a hospital that day. When my friend came into the room, I tearfully explained the situation. She graciously excused me from going.

After she left, my tears flowed. I appreciated the love expressed to me by my friend and her relatives. In fact, perhaps it was feeling this love that made me cry. Perhaps it reminded me of my mother's love. No doubt I was also remembering all the happy Christmases I'd spent growing up in a large, loving family – a family that was now scattered and would never be quite the same again.

I reached out to God, praying: "Dear God, I know You are right here with me. Help me to feel Your ever-present love."

As I began to feel that love, I knew that in the infinite, all-embracing Love that is God, Spirit, nothing had really changed, nothing had really been lost – not my mother's life, not my sense of home, comfort, or joy. I began to feel a genuine peace and happiness. I got up and found my friend's aunt in the kitchen. She didn't speak English. We had to communicate through gestures. But as I helped her prepare the noon meal, a tender compassion enveloped me.

As the week progressed, I was delighted by many evidences of God's care. The family embraced my friend and me, including us in every holiday activity. Although the outward forms – the language, foods, and customs – were different, I was keenly aware of a love that transcended cultures.

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