Christmas. A time for family and friends. Celebrations and food. Songs and traditions. I adore this time of year. It is wonderful to sit next to a beautiful tree and enjoy the season with those I love.
This Christmas is different.
Sure, the family is here, the tree is lit, and the carols are playing, but it is not the same. Looming in the air, heavy like a warm winter blanket, is the fact that, in less than three days time, half of us will be on a plane heading to our new home. Shanghai is calling and we have answered. A three year assignment lies ahead and the Burin Bunch will be split, separated by continents. Three to stay in Michigan, and four to travel East.
This time last year, I was blissfully unaware of what would lie ahead. The only events I saw looming on the horizon were, a high school graduation for our oldest son, followed by the wedding of our daughter. I could not imagine how I would get through either of these events. Dread is the word that comes to mind. I hate change. I hate goodbyes. Graduations and weddings include both. New phases in the lives of my children that, although wonderful, take them further from under my wing of motherly protection. Despite the fact it is a mother’s job to raise her children up to be independent adults, I still fight giving them wings to fly. Again, change, goodbyes…both awful. Of course, these events were minor in comparison to the news of our move.
I cried through graduation, feeling a sense of loss through my son’s new independent phase of his life. When the wedding came, I found myself switching between laughter and tears almost interchangeably. The week of the wedding, we were enjoying a family reunion in South Haven, MI. As anyone knows, family reunions come with their own share of dramatic events (I could write an entirely different blog on that trip alone). Amongst the laughter and the tears, two days before the wedding, my husband got a call offering him a promising position with Ford of China. When he applied for the job, it was a long shot. However, the position offered a promotion and many perks, so we thought we would be foolish not to try. It was a long shot, after all. Well, long shot or not, he was offered the position. We got through the wedding (lots of laughter and tears later), took our son to college (more tears later), and hopped on a plane to visit Shanghai. All of this happened in two weeks. A month prior, I didn’t even posses a passport!
Three months, a husband already living in China, and many, many tears later, I sit here in my family room on Christmas day. Looking at the tree and my family sitting together I am conflicted. Torn between leaving two of my children and life as I know it behind, and heading forward into a new, terrifyingly exciting adventure. Where will I be this time next year? Only God knows. All I can do is trust Him to lead me and guide me according to His will.
Christmas is a time to celebrate family, friends, and the birth of our Lord. It also marks the end of a long year. One full of change. Change I never would have anticipated last Christmas. We never know where we will be from year to year. All we can do is be willing to go along for the ride, keep our eyes looking up, and always be willing to change. I hope you will join me on this crazy ride. I’m sure it will be exciting and will include action, laughter, tears, and adventure. All the qualities that make our lives as the Burin Bunch full and blessed. We will see..
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21