Archive for March 30th, 2023


Written by Nanci Hoffman from the Village Church.

When I arrived on the Hikara Maru and looked out over the sea of people on the dock, waiting to welcome their friends and/or relatives who had just arrived across the ocean from Seattle, I was astounded that just about all of them had black hair.  Coming from New Haven, Connecticut, I was used to crowds of multi-colored hair.  Anyway, my aunt picked me up and soon I was ensconced in my dormitory at the International Christian University in Mitaka.  There were about 15 students from the U.S., and we were all enrolled in the intensive Japanese Language course. I remember so vividly that Christmas Eve, after cookies and some caroling at Dr. Troyer’s home, sitting by myself on campus, missing my family so much. At 17 years old, my first Christmas Eve away from home, in a foreign country, I felt so alone.  I missed the Christmas Eve service we always attended at the First Methodist church on the Green, the gathering of friends and family at home, and the warmth of Mom and Dad as we prepared for our Christmas Day. I wanted to be back home with my family. It was cold on the bench, and I remember the tears on my cheeks felt cold. I was starting to feel so miserable.  Then I looked up at the stars and thought that the same stars were shining on Mom and Dad. I remember feeling a warmth radiating through my body as I thought of Mom and Dad singing the Christmas carols that we had sung at Dr. Troyer’s home. I remember feeling comforted knowing that we were celebrating Jesus’ birth together, even though physically separated by thousands of miles.  This happened 67 years ago, but I can still feel the comfort that my 17-year-old body felt on the cold bench, alone in Mitaka.  It was as if the sky was a huge canopy bringing love from one side to the world to the other through Jesus!


Written by Sarah Nicols, a contemporary writer.

Lord, we know whatever place we may find ourselves in today is only temporary, as this is our earthly home, yet we can’t help but long to be somewhere other than where we are. We know you are the Prince of Peace, but when we can’t control where we find ourselves, we tend to feel anxious. Help us release our worry to you and find the peace only you can offer. Help us to be present even in temporary spaces, glorifying you in each place we land.

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