I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas

As a missionary kid, I’m proud of my Guatemalan history. I love tamales, frijoles negros, freshly made corn tortillas (flour tortillas are a sad replacement), and the fireworks we light on Christmas Eve.

I love going home and walking up the tile stairs to my room, walking through the patches of warm sunlight, being in the same house I spent the majority of my childhood in. The cracks in the wall are familiar to me, and being in that house is so comfortable.

Even the smells are like old friends, unlike the foreign smells of the United States and JBU.

I don’t get to go home to Guatemala this year.

Instead, I’m flying out to British Columbia to meet my siblings and parents up there. This is going to be my second Christmas outside of Guatemala. Many more will probably follow.

While my story is more extreme than that of many others, the truth is that, as you go to JBU, you lose “home.” That comfortable, easy definition you’ve always had for where you belong is not going to be that easy anymore.

Home now is the speckled carpets of JBU, the path through the quad, the camps where I’ve spent my summers, the churches through whose doors I’ve walked,  and the people that have opened their hearts to me and let me in.

So, in that sense, I get to go home to my family this year, and then I get to come back home to JBU.

That’s a beautiful thing. Home now encompasses more than just the old paths you used to tread, but it doesn’t exclude them either. As you come to JBU and spend a few years of your life here, I hope you find many new homes.

About the author

Valerie McArthur

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