Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Warm or Cold for the Holidays?

Seems like we're never really satisfied. If we live where it's warm, we dream of going somewhere cold (preferably with snow) for the holidays. If we live where it's cold all winter, we dream of a trip to Florida or the Caribbean for the holidays.

Having grown up in Wisconsin and being from a relatively poor family, I never dreamed of going anywhere for the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas were synonymous with snow and cold. In fact, we always longed for a blizzard so we'd have an extra day off from school. So I grew up equating Christmas with snow, sledding, ice skating, etc. Imagine my despair when my husband and I moved to Brazil and lived quite close to the equator for almost 30 years.

My first Christmas in the heat was a shock. Subsequent Christmases weren't much better. How I longed for cold weather and snow for the holidays! Homesickness washed over me like waves on a sandy beach. I cried, moped and sweated my way through those first Christmases. After all, it was 85 degrees and 85% humidity year round where I was. I prohibited songs like, "White Christmas," "Jingle Bells," etc. If I happened to hear one, I would go into a tailspin.

But I raised my children in the tropics. Our Christmas tree was improvised bamboo or tree branches covered in tinsel. Now my children long for the warm tropical sunshine when the cold comes to us in North America. They long for the opportunity to go swimming and kayaking on Christmas Day (one of our tropical traditions). Homesickness attacks them, much like it did me in those first years of living in Brazil.

As for me, I'm content enjoying Christmas wherever I am because Christmas means hope. It's about the birth of a Savior who gave up what He was accustomed to (glory and honor with the Father) to be born in a manger and eventually to offer up His life in order to buy mine - and yours.

But just in case you're looking for a place to go this year during the holidays, check out this post. It is filled with ideas for a lovely holiday vacation, whether you prefer warm or cold.

Sharon Reece

P.S. There are many people who suffer or have a hard time during the holidays because they have recently lost a loved one. If you know someone like that, you can encourage them with a gift of our book that tells of God's healing and comfort after our son disappeared in Hawaii during the holidays of 1999. Get it here!