Christmas In Japan

What am I supposed to feel this day?
We always speak of the spirit of the season,
But I find it difficult to speak it into words.
I’ve never seen a full-bodied explanation.

The symbology of body and spirit cannot be lost
On this–of all the days in the year–the day
When Spirit took on Flesh in infant form:
God, fully-fleshed in deed and word.

That day was one for joy and peace and love:
Joy for the longed-for coming of the promised king,
Peace for all mankind under His righteous rule, and
Love for one another as He showed this love for us.

But for me who struggles to combine word and feeling,
I cannot distinguish this day from another
Except by the additives of music, food, and company.
Are we not called always to joy, peace, and love?

Here, away from home, what is left to set apart?
The music is the same, but I sing the carols alone;
The food is only a best attempt at re-creation; and
The company is unfamiliar and unchosen.

Lest you think me depressed, let me assuage your fears.
As on most days, I have with me a sense of calm enjoyment.
I breathe the sea air and feel the cool wind and warm sun.
I find hidden moments for thanksgiving and praise.

On this day, I make special remembrance of the babe King
And give praise to Him Who is worthy of adoration
On this day and on every day of His eternal reign–
Who lowered Himself to be raised up for our sake.

But this day feels no different to me now.
Neither does it have to, nor–I venture–should it,
For it allows me to set apart other past and future days
Spent with family and friends at home.

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