I heard and sang the words to that Christmas tune for as many Christmases as I could remember. Today though, on Christmas morning the words made me homesick for Christmas in a different way.

Mom had just died less than 24 hours ago, Christmas Eve morning, she was now truly home for Christmas. My heart though was not in the Christmas spirit. My heart though was not in the Christmas spirit. Oh, how I longed to be with her, to see her sparkling eyes as she beheld the WONDER of WONDERS, Jesus, the Reason for the Season of Christmas.

But little hands and curious eyes of children begged for Christmas here, now. So we read the story of the birth of Christ and the Star and Shepherd and sang the songs that reminded us again of Him. Then the joy of presents to represent His gift to us and my heart said yes, continue to go on and enjoy Jesus and show His love. That is what Mom would want now. That is why she thrilled at the knowledge of our family going to the field to tell others of the love of Christ and the reason for His birth. So they could celebrate Christ.

But I thought it would be so different, my mind’s eye always saw her coming for a visit to see our ministry. What of that vision now? Why is she gone? What will the next Christmas be like without her and the next birthday…

We left for our first term of global work service two weeks after mom’ funeral. During those two weeks there would be packing, crying, good-byes, memory sorting in her room were she died at home. There was also the plane tickets to buy, preparation for small children to fly for the first time, a new culture to learn about, ministry plans, broken hearts…

Now that we are here I have found myself so many times going to the phone to call mom and let her know the family news of the day or the new word I learned in this culture or what new kind of food I cooked and ruined because I wasn’t sure what it was…and …oh, yes, I forget…she will not be there to answer the phone. There will be no letter in the post box.

On this Christmas morning, one year since her homegoing to Heaven, I will sit quietly by the tree before anyone is awake and think of Mom and those last moments in her bedroom, but then hope will sparkle as the lights on the tree reflect in the eyes of our three children as they again wonder at the gifts and songs of Christmas and I will know that Mom is at Home for Christmas and I am too. I am at home with my loved ones in the new culture and will celebrate Christ to those around me so they too, one day, will have the opportunity of being “Home for Christmas.”

©2000 Thrive

View the original print magazine where this article was first published.