Thursday, December 2, 2010


Last year, you broke into my parents' house. You dug through their overstuffed room of storage. You found their billion pound Christmas tree in the farthest corner of the overstuffed room. You dragged it out. Up the stairs. Around the corner. Onto the pink (salmon?!) carpet. And you pulled out the pieces

You proceeded to put up their Christmas tree because you knew they would not be able to, yet you somehow knew how important it was for them to come home to a place that felt like Christmas. You finished. The tree was crooked. You tried to fix no avail.

My parents arrived home after two long weeks of crisis. My mom saw the tree. She cried. She could not figure out how the Christmas tree got up! She called me. "I know who it was, but I'm not telling. Ha ha." (Early 90s board game DreamPhone reference, anyone? Anyone?) Somehow, the erect Christmas tree alleviated a bit of the scariness, the unfamiliar, the loneliness of the season where nothing seemed "usual".

My mom saw that it was crooked. This was her favorite part about it. A perfectly crooked Christmas tree seemed fitting, given the season our family had just had. Their Thanksgiving and Christmas was unlike any other, but it turned out to be a beautiful season. Their traditions went awol, but it was a Christmas they will never forget.

The details continue and you already know most of them. The point of this story is that Christmas 2010 for Kelsey Keizer is going to be unlike any other. At times the Christmas season in Praha will feel sacry, unfamiliar, lonely.....anything but usual. How could it feel usual? The bigger point of the story is that there is a raw and pure beauty in crooked Christmas trees. And I pray that you will know and understand the crooked Christmas trees as they come to your door this holiday season.

May the lonely unfamiliar be overcome by a beautiful unfamiliar. May the lack of traditions entice you to create new ones. May your crooked Christmas trees be known to you as signs of the goodness and faithfulness of God. And may you always, always, always remember that Christmas is not in anything familiar, usual, traditional.....Christmas is Christ and Christ is with you in Praha.

Love from here to there and back again,

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