Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Crate Contemplation

It is often said that you can tell what is important to a person—what they worship—by studying their calendar and their check-book. When a person gets rid of most of their worldly possessions—and moves to another culture to share their faith—that may seem like a good indicator as well. However, for many such “cross-cultural ministers” there is another, even better measurement of worth: the crate.

When you have a single box in which you put every last thing you deem important enough to keep and ship to your new home, you can be sure that the things you pack in there are important. Over the years, we have done two of these, and as I look at what we are declaring important, I am getting to know myself better.

We were not moving to a place where necessities were hard to come by, so everything we brought was simply stuff that we wanted to bring—stuff we were willing to spend the money to ship. Outside of one piece of furniture, we brought two things: books, and Christmas stuff. The books were self explanatory, we are book lovers. The Christmas stuff seems also to be self-evident, but we are amazed at how many people in our position did not bring any with them.

Our Christmas decoration is the result of tiny, incremental collection over our 16 years of Christmas together. As the kids came along, we added to the collection in their name as well. It is one of those intentional and carefully constructed traditions that make a house a home and that enable one to take that home wherever one goes. Christmas season and the way we celebrate it is not the only one of these traditions we have as a family, but it is one of the bigger ones. All of these little traditions and family memories we build are important things that any parent should build for their children, but for someone spanning two or more cultures, they are indispensable.


  1. That's very interesting. I wonder what I would put in my crate.

  2. I've actually thought about this before. I know I would definitely put BOOKS in there. And probably chips and hot sauce! ha!

  3. It is funny how, as time goes by, the list of things that we thought we would put in a crate after our time back in the states kept shrinking and shrinking.


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