Christmas Where I Don’t Belong

Before leaving for the field, I often wondered what my first Christmas would look like. I fantasized about what it could or should be. I dreamed of starting family traditions with my little ones and sharing our Christmas festivities with new friends, believers and unbelievers alike.

But just like many things in life, the reality just hasn’t lived up to the hype. I guess I should have known. This is not my home. At least not yet. This country doesn’t celebrate Christ’s coming. And while I would not argue that Christmas is truly a Christian holiday in its modern form, there are comforts that come in the community that shares at least a nod at the King that came to earth as a babe to save the souls of the world.

We aren’t less busy because it’s Christmas. In fact, we are even busier! Learning a language is time and thought consuming. There are very few moments in my day where my brain isn’t being racked for all the grammar and vocab knowledge crammed somewhere within. Walking to school, studying, preparing meals for my family, gift shopping, special Christmas services, making ready for guests…I don’t think my Christmas season has ever been more busy.

We’ve spent hours looking for a tree topper that was never found. Our plastic green toothpick turned Christmas tree is adorned with an elephant puppet. Because…seriously, that’s all we have.

It’s in these times I face myself. Is Jesus really the reason? Have I lost my focus? Is Christmas, to me, tree skirts and toppers, quality wrapping paper, and online shopping with ease?

Do I resent the things I am busy with that take precedence over the holiday traditions that seem so important? The things I am busy with are the important things after all. If Jesus is the reason I moved my family clear across the world, then it stands to reason He is the reason I am here now, removed from Christmas tradition and Christ reverence. The reason I am slaying myself to learn a language that doesn’t seem to want to stick. The reason I am putting myself out there to befriend difficult people, to cross cultural and language barriers to share the Christ who changed my life.

Christmas is not Christ. Christ is not for America only.Tradition and symbolism, while comforting, are not what my life is about. While nothing around me confirms the coming of the holiday season, no sounds of sleigh bells or Santa sightings, every day of my life is oozing of the grace of the once bundled babe indwelling the power of God and taking on the sins of the entire world. He is the reason for the season, the reason for my life, and the reason we can remain faithful when nothing is as it should be.

Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, with the comforts (read: distractions) of the Christmas season, give Christ more than a casual nod. Moving forward past Christmas and into the New Year, resolve to give Him every day of the coming year and every year. His grace isn’t given on one day or in one season. He is good and giving every day. Our response should be the same every day.

Amazed reverence. Willing obedience. Joyful submission. Complete confidence. Reckless trust.

In every season. On every day. Christ is the reason. Come, let us adore Him.


And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:9-14)

In what ways do you center your Christmas around Christ?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

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  1. While we still love our traditions and teaching the kiddos about the meaning of Christmas being abroad had definitely changed how we celebrate and see Christmas. Instead of hurrying to get out if church to celebrate at home we rush through our traditions to celebrate at church. It’s our biggest outreach of the year and has become very enjoyable to share the Christmas story and the Christ of Christmas with those who generally wouldn’t come and learning hymns and celebrating with believers who Christmas is very new for. We have a great time together.

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