In our home Christmas Day is full of tradition and magical moments we look forward to ––Santa, presents, breakfast, gathering together, and celebrating. But for the past several years those traditions have dimmed in comparison to the one event we anticipate more than any other.
Yes, even more than what Santa delivered.
It is the moment when we gather around the kitchen table to talk with our missionary.
If you have a missionary, your heart probably swells with anticipation just thinking about that moment. It is a sweet experience. Tender.
If this is your first Christmas phone call you might be grateful for a few tips.
First, make sure you discuss the phone call in your email the Monday before Christmas. You will need to find out how your missionary plans to communicate with you. There are several options including phone, Skype, and Internet. You will need to exchange information in order to be prepared for that experience. If your missionary is in a different country you might want to read about how to place a call to a different country. If you are Skyping set up the account several days before and practice at least once so you know how it works.
Second, consider how to make the experience most beneficial for your whole family. Everyone will want to be able to hear. If you are connecting through the Internet consider the location of the computer and where everyone will gather. Make sure there is enough room. If you are using a phone you might want to ensure that it has a speaker option.
Third, one of our most favorite things to do is to ask our missionary to share a short testimony during the phone call. I always record that testimony to listen to in future months. Our boys who spoke languages bore testimony in the language they had learned. Those recordings are a cherished memory, and allowed us a small glimpse into their mission experience.
Fourth, one of the most helpful things we have done is to make a list of questions we want to ask. I tape a paper to the fridge on the Monday night before Christmas. For Family Home Evening we discuss the details we want to know more about and we write them down on the paper. For example:
What is the grossest thing you have eaten?
What do you make for lunch every day?
Tell us about a family you are working with?
What is your favorite p-day you have had?
What do you love most about your companion?
What is the best advice you have received from your Mission President?
I leave the paper up all week, and people add to the list as they think of questions they want to know. We don’t always get through all of the questions on the paper during the conversation, but if there is ever a lull in the conversation we fill it right up by asking one of the questions we have prepared.
It is always amazing to me how quickly the distance and the months apart fade away in that moment when you hear “hello?” and your missionary’s voice comes through. It is in that moment that I remember Christmas is a time for gathering, for family, for love, and for celebrating Christ.
The Christmas phone call captures every one of those sweet moments.
Oh, I can hardly wait…
For more information on making the most of your missionary’s Christmas in the field, see:
Christmas in the field – One Missionary’s Perspective
Making the Most of the Christmas Call – A Missionary’s Perspective