Saturday, December 31, 2011


Decorating a Christmas tree the day before New Year’s at 2 in the morning feels a bit…well, weird.  The reason for this odd convergence of events in time is the fact that we are jet-lagging in Ukraine. 

Events: It’s Dec. 31 and later today we’ll celebrate New Year’s Eve at church.  A few days ago (I don’t know what counts as day or as night) we arrived back in Ukraine after spending nearly 5 weeks in the States for a growth and renewal retreat.  A tagline to that event was celebrating “Grandma and Grandpa’s Christmas” with family in Grand Rapids.

Time: It’s 3:34am. George is writing his sermon as I type.    Abigail is watching cartoons.  Matthew and Abigail just helped me decorate the Christmas tree.  Now for those of you not familiar with Ukrainian traditions, this needs some explanation.  Here in Ukraine a tree is decorated for New Year’s.  We aren’t putting our tree up for this reason, however, but because Christmas in the Ukrainian Orthodox calendar falls on January 7.  As a church we’ve decided to observe Christmas on the day officially recognized and most commonly celebrated as Christmas.  Thus, having already done a bit of Christmas celebrations in the US, we are now gearing up for Christmas here in Ukraine.

But I must admit, I feel disoriented by it all.  I can’t make heads or tails of what day it is, what time it is, what holiday it is, and come tomorrow, I will get confused about what year it is.  If only I could get some sleep!