1 Corinthians 12:13 – For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (KJV)
Last Christmas we tried something new. We decided to spend Christmas somewhere else, a first for all of us. We lived in separate parts of the country and although we'd always been able to spend Christmas together, we knew this would also be our last one together as just a family of five. One daughter lived in an eastern province, one would marry in the summer, and another would be living in a foreign country, so we shared the celebration where we could experience new heights, a new culture, in an old tradition.
The beauty of the island of Maui is only surpassed by the beautiful people who populate it, with their gentle, graceful manner in which visitors are welcomed. Christmas lights and decorations were visible, but the commercialism wasn't prominent — or if it was, we were able to be oblivious to it.
We had dispensed with gift giving, and chose instead to just be with Christmas. A Christmas Eve luau led us through the story of the missionaries' arrival and moved through to carol singing. A 4:00 a.m. call on Christmas morning got us up for the two-hour drive taking us 10,000 feet up Mt. Haleakala, where we stood in awe amongst the stars awaiting the sun's arrival. As it slowly crept up to greet us, glowing, growing, revealing the clouds and other wonders below, we were never more sure of God's presence.
Boxing Day was a bonus, for it fell on a Sunday, and we chose a little Catholic church within walking distance, where we sat before a big crucifix surrounded by poinsettias, their scarlet leaves symbolic of Christ's blood shed for our sins. As we sang carols in English and Hawaiian, our hearts were stirred somewhere deep within our souls, and we were blessed at the closing by four young girls who signed in sync to Silent Night.
While it isn't possible for many people to get away from their surroundings, and to have a celebration somewhere else, perhaps in telling you how we shared ours, in some way too, you can share in it with us.
Prayer: May we share the blessings of your presence this Christmas, Lord, no matter where we may be — physically, spiritually, emotionally. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.