When September hits, I get excited! Christmas is JUST around the corner!!! Anticipation builds and the countdown begins. Friends sigh or heckle or say “Bah humbug.”  But up go the twinkle lights in my home. I buy all things peppermint. I pull out my Christmas cookie recipes. I start brainstorming lists of perfect gifts for my loved ones. Christmas hymns and jingles tickle my ears all the day long. 

My husband shares this affinity with me for all things Christmas, luckily. We make a list of Christmasy outings, like zoo lights and caroling at the Bean and the Christkindl market and ice skating at Millennium Park. Our Christmas movie watching is kicked off with the classic Charlie Brown Christmas. We love the sights and smells and sounds that jolly, “’Tis the season!”

We lived in Ghana for the past few Christmases. Where there are no zoo lights or ice skating or beautiful snows. Where there is not a pine tree in sight. Where peppermint is hard to come by and Christmas cookies and desserts don’t taste like tradition. Where family is not near. When you grow up in the Midwest, it’s nearly impossible to muster up the sentiment of Christmas when it’s 90 degrees outside and you’re far from “home.”  But in spite of it not feeling like Christmas, there was, still, within us an excitement bubbling.

My husband came across a broadcast (below) a handful of years ago of Paul Harvey reading a story on Christmas Day 1965. A modern-day parable titled, “The Man and The Birds” >

Yes, all of the things I listed above make my heart so happy. But when Christmas in Ghana didn’t feel like Christmas, there was still one thing remaining. One unbent tradition. The reason for our deep-seated excitement.


Love came to life.

Light dawned in the land of deep, dark shadows.

No more stumbling and bumping into things. No more hopeless dark.

Thankful to see, hear, and understand this Advent season!

*Photo credit: World Street Photography


Josi Seibert

Josi was born and raised a Nebraska girl. As many Cornhuskers did, she grew up on a farm in a small rural community. Upon graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan University, she exchanged cornfields for skyscrapers as she moved to Chicago to attend Moody Theological Seminary. It was there that she met her beloved husband, Ryan, and grew an interest in cross-cultural relationships as she worked with international students, refugee families, and lived in one of the most diverse communities in the country. She and her husband moved to Ghana, West Africa in September 2013 with a team of friends to start a business. In 2015 they resettled back in Chicago to welcome their first child and are currently working with World Relief, helping resettle refugees and find them employment. You're invited to keep in step with them as they live, work, learn and play: http://www.ryanandjosi.blogspot.com/