I am feeling a bit nostalgic as I sit here listening to Christmas music at 11:20pm on Christmas Eve. Overall I have not really felt like it is Christmas. I can think of all kinds of reasons why- the 90+ degree weather, hearing the ocean through my window at night, no Christmas tree or Christmas lights, but I think the main reason is being away from my family and friends. I am realizing how much of what makes Christmas for me is the familiar memories and fun times with those whom I love. I was looking at some pictures of my friend Holly's kids playing out in the snow and almost wanted to cry knowing that I am missing out on those memories with them.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love being in Liberia. I have been honored and blessed with new and wonderful friends and "family." I will definitely never forget this Christmas, my first in Africa. Tonight I went to a Christmas Eve church service with some friends. It was in an old building with beautiful, vibrant stained glass windows and pews and candles. We sang wonderfully familiar Christmas carols and walked around the block in a candle light procession. Somewhere during the amazing rendition of the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah I felt it- Christmas.
I hope that wherever you find yourself this season, you will be surrounded by friends and family (new or old) and that you will feel it too.