We had just arrived in California after a crazy first few months in the US. We were about to celebrate our first Christmas in our new home country. We were freaking out to say the least… everything was new and different and we were a very long way from our family and our long standing and deeply entrenched Christmas traditions. We had no decorations, and a strange sense of Christmas being incomplete. Two days before Christmas, there was a knock on our door and our new friends Mark and Lori Welch are on our doorstep with a real Christmas tree and all the trimmings and decorations. In they came and we got to work decorating. They made us know that we were part of their family. We were not alone. Their gesture stirred in our hearts a sense of belonging and relationship that made us feel like we were home. It changed more than just that Christmas. It set us on a trajectory of friendship that would become deep and lasting. Oh and it was an amazing tree.
Fast forward 8 years and we find ourselves moving into another time of unknown. This Christmas we find ourselves in transition living temporarily in an RV and so our tree is small and the Smee family Christmas will be delayed to accommodate everyone’s plans. Every year since our first Christmas we have tried to establish the traditions of our new lives, and every year we look at those friends and families that have become so dear to us and we know that no matter the holiday traditions or where everyone is, Christmas is a time we are grateful and thankful for the friends God has brought into our lives. The ones that stick through our rough edges, the ones that hold us up in prayer, and love us even after difficult conversations. The ones that know we love them back in our crazy quirky way, and know we are thinking of them even when we are miles apart.
Friends and family matter. So to all of you – you know who you are – thank you. Leanne and I don’t just want to say Merry Christmas, but we want you to know that we are reminiscing and thinking about each of you by name as we sit by our small Christmas tree and reflect on the wealth of relationships that we have been blessed with these past 8 years.
Craig and Leanne