Friday, December 27, 2013

London Lights and Christmastide

I spent Christmas in London this year, with my English family here, playing carols at the midnight service in Notting Hill, celebrating Christmas Eve with a party with the Argentinian side of our family and Christmas day with my American girls, running through deserted streets on Christmas morning, avoiding Oxford Street on Boxing Day (and wandering through Covent Garden instead), and eating loads of donations from Waitrose.

Christmas here is different from the American Christmases of my childhood, but they are still full of family, food, and love.

Christmas celebrations started on the 19th for me, because my friend Stephanie, who studied here in Canterbury with me three years ago, came to London for a few days. We met in Victoria Station, the very place we left each other exactly three years before, and spent the evening wandering our old haunts in London and remembering the freedom and excitement of being international students.

Christmas Eve is the day celebrated by South Americans, so we had a massive, base-wide celebration all night, with all sixty of us crammed into one of our homes, Argentinian barbeque, games, worship, and Secret Santa exchange.

I, however, left early to play the piano and lead carols at the midnight Christmas service at Notting Hill.

I spent Christmas in various living rooms of the houses on base, around tables, eating left over barbeque and spending time with people that I love. I keep learning how important it is to spend time with people who are dear, how time is what cannot be stolen away later. The conversations around the table, the snuggles on the couch, the laughter that fills our houses daily, those things remain.

I love actually having time with my friends, too, time to explore and drink coffee and stare at Christmas lights and have deep conversations on the bus.

And it's fun to inter-mingle traditions from all of our cultures. In this picture we have three Brasilians who live in Spain, one Argentinian-born English girl, and me, all eating English breakfast in London.

I miss my family's traditions back home, but I am young enough to enjoy making new traditions, to find the beauty in running around the Strand in the icy cold, to laugh when I get soaked to the bone for the fourth day in a row, and I am so loved. So wonderfully loved. In Luke, Jesus says that the people who give up their families and lives to follow Him will receive much more on Earth, then eternal life in Heaven. I have a taste of that much more here. I have such a large family here, such free-flowing love, such warmth. I can see the "much more" of His love.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you're first English Christmas was a hit! I am also thrilled by the love you feel.