You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:19 NRSV

The sounds of Christmas were different for me in 2012. My husband and I arrived at Randolph Air Force Base from Pennsylvania one week before Christmas day. We began learning the lingo of our new place—“It’s pronounced ‘Bear’ County, not ‘Bex-ar’?”—and obliviously butchering Boerne, Gruene, and Helotes. There was no crunch of ice under our boots or the deep silence of a snowstorm, because the temperature was in the 70’s and the grackles were out in full squawk.

As we subsisted out of a hotel room and searched for an apartment, I often thought of the nativity. Mary and Joseph also searched for a place, and in a town packed for the census, their trip to Bethlehem was unlike any other. Then, Mary was enveloped in the sounds, sights, smells, and sensations of her first labor. She received the gift of a child in a strange town. At Christmas, we often see and hear the beautiful gifts of the familiar—for some that’s Christmas lights strung up a palm tree and for others it’s a blanket of snow—but love whispers to remember those among us who face challenges at Christmas time.

(author: Melissa Staricha)


20151210_192636-1.jpgFather, we rejoice in the great gifts you have given us. Help us to be aware of those who need to feel your touch and experience your love this holiday season.

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