A couple of perspectives from my travelling:
1. A major part of the joy of travelling is coming home. This Christmas I particularly feel for people who are forced to travel and have no prospect of returning home, particularly asylum seekers who are exiled from their own country and barely welcomed in ours, where the language, culture and climate are so different, where they have to relearn how to do everything you need to do to survive. They face these challenges in a situation where they have no status, and are not allowed to work to earn money and provide for themselves. I can only begin to imagine how demeaning that feels.
The crazy thing is that they are usually very skilled people, who really want to contribute and who are real grafters as well. I also feel for people on the streets who have no home to return to at all.
Of course the Christmas story involves a family travelling. They were returning to Joseph’s ancestral home. But what that was like for a pregnant Mary I don’t know. And shortly afterwards they had to flee to Egypt; a much longer journey to a country where the language, culture and many other things would have been different. Food for thought…
2. Weirdly, although many of us struggle with the short days and dark nights and mornings at this time of year in our time zone, when I was in Australia, I remember I reached a point when my body was longing for the days to get shorter (at the very point when they were in fact getting longer over there). I was longing for dark and cold! And I have loved coming back to the dark and cold. I wonder whether viewing this season as one for hibernation (as a few of my friends have been doing) is a more positive and natural way of living in it. Demanding less of ourselves each day. It’s a thought.
Anyway, I hope whatever your circumstances that you and yours have a happy Christmas. And wherever there is darkness, may light come.