Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cruising for Christmas (but not skipping it)

This blog entry comes to you from the waters surrounding Central America. John and I are on a 10-day pre-Christmas cruise through the Panama Canal. John is a history buff, who has long been intrigued by the history of the canal. He is also a Vietnam War veteran who did his guerilla warfare training in the jungles of Panama, yet he had never been to the canal, so this cruise is a lifelong dream of his, and I got to come along!

We are having a great time, and I can’t help but feel blessed and completely spoiled to be here, especially since we left behind eighteen inches of snow and -20 degree wind chills.

It is hard for me to remember that this is the Christmas season, and since I love Christmas, I feel some regret about that. Oh, there are a few Christmas trees and poinsettias scattered here and there, but there is no mention of Christmas, and, worst of all, no Christmas music!

On Saturday evening I was reading in the ship’s library while listening to a Ukrainian trio -piano, flute, and violin, playing in the atrium below. The music was all classical and lovely, but I was wishing for some Christmas music, when a melody they began playing brought these words to mind: “Down from His glory, ever-living story, my God and Savior came, and Jesus was His name; born in a manger, to His own a stranger, a man of sorrows, tears, and agony. O how I love Him. How I adore Him -my breath, my sunshine, my all in all. The great Creator became my Savior, and all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him.” What powerful lyrics! It took a while for me to realize that the musicians were no actually playing “O Sole Mio,” most likely unaware that lyrics referring to the Savior’s birth had ever been written to that tune, yet their music, combined with the words it unlocked from my memory, seemed like a special gift.

The following morning John and I attended an ecumenical church service, and were surprised to see a large number of fellow passengers in attendance. A Romanian pianist played Christmas carols, and we joined our voices with those of people from many countries and states in singing them. The woman that led the service exclaimed about the unifying message of Christmas; how we can journey from many different places and many different faith traditions, and yet agree on this: peace, comfort, joy, and a blessed hope is ours because of the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Joy to the World!

I hope that you are enjoying a beautiful Christmas season, regardless of where you are in the world, and what the temperature or circumstance. God smiled on us all that first Christmas when He sent His Son into the world for the purpose of taking the punishment we all deserved. Not even the gift of a Panama Canal cruise can begin to compare with that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go feed my face at the Mexican buffet and then sit by the pool for a spell. Adios, Amigos.


  1. Have a wonderful and safe trip.
    Blessings and prayers, andrea

  2. Sharlyn,

    What a unique and different way to celebrate the joy of the Christmas season. Can't wait for pictures when you return.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  3. How wonderful that Christmas found you in a song, then in fellowship with believers. SO glad you are enjoying your cruise (and the buffet). :)

  4. AWEsome, this is so grand! Have a fab time, and Merry CHRISTmas, my friend!



I treasure my readers. Please share your thoughts with me.