Homesick for the Holidays

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Today’s guest blogger knows all about her topic. Geriann de Oliveira-Wyrick grew up in a Californian home incorporating her dad’s Brazilian traditions into family life.  After fifteen years in Asia with her husband and sons, they are now exploring a new adventure in Rio. 


Geriann is a joy to know. She loves to laugh, but thinks deeply and grapples to know the Lord in His fulness. Grapple with her today as she explores change from a fresh new perspective. 



Oh homesickness, how I loathe thee! 


Somehow this “sickness” weights down each Christmas season with such great force that I can feel it bearing down on my soul. During my years in Asia, I mastered avoiding the unwelcome feeling by running around, baking what seemed like a million cookies in my Holly Hobbie oven, hosting parties, and buying gifts… all became part of my mission to share the Good News. To be quite honest, a lot of it was done primarily to avoid the sadness and longing that accompanies the enemy of my Christmases: homesickness. 


It’s funny how the senses can bring back the tidal wave of memories and emotions, no matter how hard I try.  There is no avoiding it, as suddenly I am thrust away into another time and place. Then and there, homesickness descends full force.


The bitter-sweet scent of fresh coffee on Christmas Eve morning has caught me off guard on more than a few occasions. The smell of churrasco… oh, delicious Brazilian churrasco… accompanied by immediate hunger pangs for that mouth-watering goodness.


And without thinking, that old recall jukebox begins playing those sweet memories. 


Happy impressions like the sound of laughter and the splashing of water at the pool. I smile as I can still replay someone being thrown in unexpectedly. The feel of the sand under my feet as I walk along the beach, basking in the sunshine and listening to the waves, and, of course, the way the cold coconut water hits the back of my parched throat. 


That is how Christmas is supposed to be, not running around, as my daddy always says in his thick Brazilian accent, like “a chicken with his head cut off”. 


Family and friends, sitting around the table after a long, laid back day, eating shrimp, crab and cod fish while we laugh over childhood stories recounted a million times. 


Often without warning, sadness creeps in when I think of those who aren’t with me during this special holiday season.  Even now as I look out at the gorgeous ocean here in Rio, blessed that I’m able to partake in all of these amazing traditions south of the equator again, I still feel homesick. 


Only it’s a different type of homesickness – this time for my heavenly home. 


How can I feel homesick for heaven when I haven’t been there? Well, occasionally I am hit with a little taste of its sweetness. You know, the unexplainable euphoria that engulfs when you are reunited after a long time away from home…surrounded by the people you love, and filled with so much happiness that you could just burst out in song like a goofy musical. Or that soaring “I can conquer the world” feeling you get after fasting and praying, opening the Scriptures, finding answers, rejoicing in the peace that surpasses all understanding … oh, and one of my favorites… the delight and elation you have when you hear the first notes of the “Hallelujah Chorus”, when everyone stands to their feet in awe and reverence. 




Yes, maybe it’s just a sprinkle of heaven’s happiness raining down on me. 


Homesickness: I think you will be welcome as my friend this Christmas.