To the loved ones whose family has moved overseas.
We all have those nostalgic moments of being swept back into our childhood and Christmas seems to magnify those moments tenfold. The smells of cinnamon and Christmas trees does something to our hearts, causing them to long to be situated in front of our parent’s Christmas tree, drinking hot chocolate, and listening to Christmas carols.
The thing we often forget is the longing our families have for us to be there.
As a mother of seven with an impeding date of my oldest leaving for college, this reality seems to be slapping me in the face. Thoughts of how my family has felt over the past twelve years does not go unnoticed during the hustle and bustle this year. I heard someone say years ago, “It is much harder to send the sheep out into the wolves than it is for the sheep to go”. That is what our families have been faced with for those of us who are called to live a life overseas. They have been called to send us out; and even give us their blessing.
I have been blessed to have a family who has “released us” with enthusiasm, albeit terrible heartache. I am an only child. I have seven children. To think of all the time, the holidays, the moments that my family has been deprived of makes my heart ache. It is not fair, and the reality of the matter is that the Lord orchestrated it all. One may have the inclination to ask, “why me? Why is God calling my child to live a life far from our family?” I would argue that this question is well deserved, although may go unanswered.
I think it is time to recognize and celebrate the families who have released us sent-out ones…to acknowledge their heartaches and the unfairness of each moment they miss. You too, dear sweet mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, brothers, sisters, and friends have beautiful crowns awaiting you in heaven one day as well as the beautiful promise of the eternity that we will spend TOGETHER.
Even though too much time may pass where we do not call you, we are often thinking fondly of you. Even though God has given us peace about where He has called us to, if given the chance, we would choose to live near you. Even though there are people in your grandchildren’s lives who they may see on a regular basis, they love and miss you more than you know.
Hear me. You are loved and missed, and we are so grateful for your sacrifice. We see it; it is enormous.
As I think about the promises our gracious Heavenly Father has given us through our hope in Jesus Christ, I cannot help but think about the true meaning of the Christmas season. Hope was fulfilled with the birth of the Messiah. Emmanuel, our God with us, left His home to make a way for others to one day go home forever. It is a joy and privilege to tell people about the hope they can find through a saving relationship with Jesus, however, this incredible opportunity comes with a price…just as Jesus’s birth came with a price. We love what we do, but we long to be home with Jesus and to be home with you.
This Christmas season, as we listen to the laughter of our families trying our best to mimic the Christmases of our childhood in places and cultures very far from our own, let’s not forget to celebrate the sacrifice our precious families have made. Call those dear souls and share your heart of how much you miss them and how thankful you are for them. I assume they need to hear how incredible they are for the sacrifice they are making for the Kingdom.