A Paper Tree Kind of Christmas

Another Christmas abroad.  I love it!  For some reason I am able to focus on enjoying the holiday and the true significance of it.  The pace is much slower.  The present giving is greatly diminished.  So many years of making this holiday special for my children!


Long ago, I walked into a worker’s home at Christmas time.  There was a sorry-looking tree in the corner, and not one other indication of the holiday evident in her home.  I felt so sorry for the children.

Granted, it takes a lot of effort to make the holiday special.  Try finding a Christmas tree in the desert, in a village which does not even know Christmas exists.  If there is going to be any celebration of the season, Mom and Dad have to make it happen.

That first Christmas was the hardest.  We arrived in our new village in November.  Our household goods, in the docks in a container, had just arrived – in the container.  We had six children who badly needed to celebrate Christmas.  I laugh now looking back.

I made a giant doll for Grace that the boys made fun of, Grace didn’t like, and eventually got hung from a tree.  Clay got a wagon that his daddy built, using tin cans as tires.  Clay also got Brownie, the dog, who came with a big green bow around his neck.


The boys all got gifts from the local market: ropes, lanterns, flashlights, and daggers.  Come to think of it, that was the beginning of their dagger collection!  Our poor school teacher put up a paper tree on the wall.

The children desperately wanted a tree.  So we cut a limb out of a tree in our yard, stripped it of leaves, painted it white, and hung Christmas lights on it….colorful at best.  And as always, to make boys happy, there was lots of good food.

Probably the hardest part about Christmas abroad was when our children started returning to the States.  It seemed every year, one of them would be back in the States, and I would worry about someone taking them in for the holiday.  I should not have worried.  God always provided!!!  Always.

God bless you.  My Sunday School lesson to the 3-5 year olds this Sunday was on the name Immanuel: God with us.  That is beyond what I can even imagine.

“His name is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace….”  Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas!


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