longing for the familiar…


This day is full of emotion. I think I am feeling challenged by the holidays this year. There is little tradition in this new place I call home – a home I chose with much excitement. For many people it is clear that we are in the season of traditions. Even though I am living in a place of choice, I fight the longing to be somewhere else.

And where would that be? My own family has gone through so much transition in the last twelve months. Each household has moved to a new home which is exciting and unsettling at the same time. I am certain that the search for tradition is a common feeling around the Craig clan right now.

There are many things different this year. I am remembering the parties and gatherings with members of church and friends, the time spent in my parent’s home of 10+ years filled with familiar smells and decorations and the warmth of my favorite restaurants where many friends gathered and celebrations were common. I am remembering my companion of 9 years, Lilly, who is no longer by my side ready to dress her in festive collar and leash.

These are things I miss as I try to make adjustments during these first days of December. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love this time of the year. I look forward to the evenings when I decorate my home – filling it with things that reflect my life and faith in preparation for friends and family to gather and celebrate.

This year is very different. I have just returned from my storage unit with three boxes of Christmas decorations. The first box I opened unleashed a flood of memories that took my breath. To get thru this day will be important. With my new home decorated, I hope to feel the comfort of familiar. In the next couple of weeks, I will welcome friends and family as they join me during this holiday. And when all is said and done I will not need to go through another “first” Christmas in this new place, my home.

I am grateful. Surrounded by the beauty of nature and a location filled with creativity, there are many new things to draw my attention and inspire my devotion. I have every reason to be grateful.

With that being said, it is time to be brave. Time to pull out the Kleenex box and began unwrapping items of Christmas that shape my story. I know all will be well, but this is a time I use those words in faith, looking ahead when the calendar brings me around to another Christmas and I am blessed with a stronger sense of belonging.

10 thoughts on “longing for the familiar…”

  1. Sending you much love and happiness during this very blessed season. Will you be in your new home on December 23th and 24th? Mark and I may be in your neck of the woods…


  2. grieving and gratitude, all wrapped up. Intriguing to think of all the households of your family negotiating the path of making tradition in a new place — ‘how can we sing’ – and wondering whether it would feel different if you were the only one wrestling, if you could know that there was that anchor of the familiar elsewhere, just not where you are. Who knows? What I do know is that, kleenex in hand and a song in your heart, you will mix what’s in those boxes that is familiar with something new, inviting them to dance together with you. Hugs.


    1. Thank you, Leesy — I am certain there would be some difference if one of these households have not changed. Either way–the suggestion of a song brings a smile on my face. Blessings to you and all among you this season and always.


  3. Dear Carrie,

    I just came to the ‘loft’ in our home where I now have a home space for some writing, reflection and contemplation. (It’s a post Sabbatical creation!) As we Hudaks approach our eighth Christmas, we were one of the homes on the Christmas Homes Tour today – a really special and spirit-filled moment for St. Paul’s and the extended community. I even shared about an hour ago with a neighbor who called about today, telling her about how you described this neighborhood as “Narnia” when you first entered this place some years ago. Louise is out shopping, the boys are at school – and Sophie and I are at home. All of this is to say that just before I decided to check my email on this Saturday night when I don’t need to be prepared to preach this weekend, that I sat at my desk, I looked at the beautifully framed ‘cloth’ image you gave me some years ago of the last supper (in an African motif), felt some strong and ever present memories of our times together, including the first time I saw you at the altar at St. Timothy’s the morning after the Saturday we Hudaks arrived in Greenville, ourselves in a transition we didn’t know what would bring to each and all of our lives.

    It’s taken several years to frame the gift you gave me, but it’s here right beside me in my new digs in the loft at our home. You are in transition and this Christmas may not be like past Christmases, but know you are GROUNDED in my heart and the hearts of many in whom you have left a ‘calling card’ that doesn’t take much to connect us, one from another.

    And for what it’s worth, only because I pulled out my file early this morning to see what happened three years ago in the start of the C Luke cycle, tomorrow morning is three years since you called to tell me you were sick and couldn’t preach on the second Sunday of Advent. I don’t all that I said, but I do know that I started with “We plan. God laughs.”

    Like Sarah, may you laugh your way this Advent/Christmas into God’s future for you in a home and town She has something you can’t even begin to imagine in the nostalgia of this season – and the strong, wonderful, tearful memories which just seem to come from deep within our being.

    Love and Peace,



    1. Bob – thank you for this wonderful reflection. I had just made mention this week of that African “Last Supper” and how excited I was to have found it for you.
      Transitions occur more often than we may think. Looking back I realize our first meeting was almost 7 years ago. With that in mind, I give thanks for the grace God offers during times filled with nostalgia and some bit of “homesickness”.
      Thank you for sharing that grace. May God bless you and your family in this Advent season. .


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