My parents loved to emphasize the phrase that change wasn’t bad, but different.
I of course, in trying to pull off being positive, collected, and excited about whatever new thing they threw at me, decided to embrace this phrase as best I could and it seems to have been branded into my memory ever since. Regardless of what new uncomfortable situation I was in, remembering this somewhat triggered my brain into [false] positivity and hope for finding the change to be good.
I thought that since our big transition overseas was long gone, having to remind myself of this phrase wouldn’t be necessary, but during our first Christmas break in the hot of Africa (Kenya and Rwanda), my mind definitely went back to it.
Being away from the cold and [usual] snow for the first time, away from grandparents and Christmas traditions, and away from over-commercialized festivity, at first was a bit hard to grasp.
I could see that the rest of my family secretly felt the same way, as we went about preparing as best we could in the 80 degree Kenyan weather, all trying to brainstorm new Christmas traditions, or manipulate old ones to work in our environment (Yes we did sit around a fire and drink hot chocolate regardless of the heat and mosquitoes). It turned a bit hopeless but soon felt so ridiculous that it erupted in laughter- and that change in mindset resulted in a wonderful break.
Instead of waking up and watching the snow fall, we woke up and watched the sun rise. Instead of building snowmen, we built sand castles. Instead of riding in sleds, we rode in tuk tuks.
What felt like a strange, hot, unwelcome, substitute for Christmas break turned into a happy reminder that Christmas wasn’t about feeling festive or being in the right setting, but a time to celebrate Jesus and spend time with family. A time to rejoice, and laugh and this break was successful in completing that.
Although I love our old traditions and the homey feeling they bring, I’m okay with our Christmas celebrations changing. They’ve become a good change. 🙂