Home for the Holidays! The happiest time of year where families all across the country come together to celebrate Christmas cheer. In typical fashion on December 20th– a classic five days before Christmas– all the college kids return to their hometowns just barely catching the end of the holiday season. The towns that we no longer live in, but were raised in and have pushed us to become the young men and women we are today. The towns where everything seemed to revolve around Friday night football, homecoming dances, and high school drama. The towns that we have so desperately desired to escape from since the seventh grade. Small town America is notorious for giving a strong homecoming to these college students trying to escape their roots.
When I came home from college after a very long, tiring semester yesterday, I found myself with a homecoming mindset resembling that of the rest of my townie peers. For some folks, living in one place for your entire life and knowing everyone you pass by in the grocery store is a comforting feeling. For instance, my parents truly cherish the small town relationships they have made with locals in our area since their youth and have continued those formed relationships for decades. They find great joy in attending my alma mater’s sporting events with my younger siblings and participating in the community. My sister has found her contentment in our small town by frequently attending all our local shops and relaxing by the Christmas tree with her group of close knit friends. She plans on staying in town upon her graduation in the spring and will be the fifth generation of children who have done so.
Okay… I know what you’re thinking… If everyone else is so happy with small town life, why aren’t I? Maybe, it’s the perspective I have gained from being the first person in my entire family to ever leave home for higher education. Maybe, it’s my sense of strong, stubborn independence. Or maybe, I was meant for a bigger place with more opportunities and the ability to meet different people every day. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade upbringing for anything in the world and I will always be able to call Jamestown home. I love the memories that I’ve created here and the family that I am eternally grateful for. It is the biggest blessing to be home during the holiday season surrounded by the ones I love most. But, on the contrary, I have discovered over the past year and a half of being away at school, that if God’s plan for me is bigger than Jamestown, NY after graduation I am willing to follow wherever he leads me. As Christians, God calls us to be his hands and feet in all parts of the world, but most importantly to serve where are feet are.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”- Matthew 28: 19-20
There is no better place than Small Town USA to celebrate Christmas, with families gathered around the Christmas tree and a warm fire laughing about old memories and shared stories with loved ones. There will forever be a part of me that will cherish my inner small town girl and thrive on listening to country music on full blast as I blaze through backroads. But, for now I must discern if God’s plan might move me away from all I’ve ever known for a little while to serve him in different parts of our nation and begin a fresh start on a path of my own. A time is approaching soon to trade in those old cowboy boots for a pair of comfy, professional heels, but don’t worry Mama I’ll forever be home for Christmas.
The God of Christmas Cookies, Mistletoe, and Hallmark movies created YOU. Fall in love with God and I promise you’ll fall in love with life. Love you all -Maddie