Midnight on Christmas Eve and the presents are wrapped, the house relatively clean, the children (including eighteen year old brother!) asleep in their beds, and David and I have enjoyed a short but intimate conversation on the meaning of gifts and what we teach our children through giving and receiving. I am ready for a shower and bed but I take a few minutes, first, to mix up and knead the Swedish Coffee Bread dough that will feed us a sweet Christmas breakfast. Working the dough into our counter, I find myself flashing back to our last Christmas, a Ugandan one. And I think that there, I would never have been kneading bread at midnight . . . . too many rats, roaches, and scary night sounds. . . . and too little power!
I miss Uganda this time of year. Somehow Christmas makes the missing harder. I miss the sunshine and the hot dust. I miss dirty feet. I miss caroling in the blackness with the drunks calling out after us. I miss having g-nut sauce on the Christmas menu. I miss upside-down elephant jammies . . . .
Our Christmas was more picture-perfect this year, I suppose. We have all the butter we could need and we did not have to plan weeks or months in advance to have the right meat for Christmas. I cooked up a tidy Christmas meal for us and some friends and I delighted myself . . . it was simple and delicious: maple-glazed pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, simple stuffing, fresh cranberry sauce, and fresh broccoli and brussel sprouts (did you know brussel sprouts grow on a long stem!! Cool!) It was all handmade from scratch, surprisingly quick and easy and QUITE tasty.
Sometimes the ease of cooking in America quite amazes me.
Tonight I lay, reading the Christmas gift I requested from David, The Spirit of Food, and pondering. What will our future bring? What about tomorrow? Will we farm? Live in another African bush? Become urban homesteaders while working in an American university setting?
For now, all I know is this. I AM home. And I MISS home. And it is wonderful to feel at home in two places . . . . so I accept, alongside that gift, the inevitable missing.
Home is where Jesus is.