It is always a bit jarring coming home to America after traveling abroad. The exhilaration of having experienced another civilization and seeing another culture’s lifestyle invites comparisons. The credit card fraud alert on my Mastercard (while traveling) due to crooks on a spending spree, the slight sore throat, and one lost pair of earrings in no way clouded the adventure. In my case it was hard to think frosty, Christmas thoughts having just come out of the jungle of the magnificent Iguazu Falls along the Argentinian and Brazilian border in South America. Yet upon arrival despite it being only Halloween, the holiday season was in full swing. It begins with candy and “Trick or Treat!” and ends with champagne and “Happy New Year!”
“Despite the traffic and weather, look in the eyes of children singing hymns or dancing the Nutcracker, the halo that surrounds all new infants, the grateful smiles of the elderly when helped, or just look up at the stars.”
In this case I arrived to the comforts of home where I learned so many others had lost theirs in a freak tornado. My housekeeper’s family, some acquaintances, church members were homeless and moving in with relatives and rentals. My son and family had camped in my bungalow during their power outage.
It’s hard to think Christmas shopping and Ho, Ho, Ho! when for some there is still no longer a chimney for Santa to shimmy down. Yet everywhere in Dallas I also hear messages of gratitude: for a community coming together,
that nobody was killed, that sticks and bricks can be repaired. Which brings us to the great message of Christmas: new life, hope, renewal, and, for many, salvation.
I’m still basking in the glow of the milestone birthday present I gave myself: the experience of the most majestic waterfalls on the earth. Think the force of Niagara, with the vastness of Victoria and then multiply it. The plume coming off the “Devil’s Mouth” could be seen for miles. I got rainbows and thundering waters and the shivers and tingles that simply come from bearing witness to something that has no words. It’s the incredible majesty of creation…like a nativity scene. On a late humid spring night in the Southern hemisphere the canopy of the Southern Cross blanketed my balcony. I definitely heard the heavenly host in those rumbling falls.
But It can happen anywhere. Despite the traffic and weather, look in the eyes of children singing hymns or dancing the Nutcracker, the halo that surrounds all new infants, the grateful smiles of the elderly when helped, or just look up at the stars. It’s definitely Christmas.