More from Joanne Emmons

by Upper Room Editorial on Sunday, December 25, 2016

After our time in Southeast Asia, the return to the United States brought us new eyes to view the world around us once again. We focused on the gentler, less obvious nuances of what it means to live in the U.S.--the clean air that allows us to watch a sunset, our ability to visit the doctor down the street and expect quality healthcare, the vegetables we find at the market and can eat without washing them in Clorox, and the phone systems that allow us to call the kids whenever we want.

Returning to our home church brought the same tears as had that lovely church in London. There we sat, years later, looking around to see familiar faces who welcomed us back. We gloried in the beauty of our friends’ faces and familiar surroundings. Pictures we had taken with our hearts when we went away were replaced with the real thing. Everything was brighter, wider, more beautiful, more precious, more appreciated, and more valued.

One of our best trade-offs was the friends we made from all over the world. As they returned to their original homes, like an ever-widening circle, they became touchpoints--India, London, Paris, Kenya, Singapore, and points in between. Without our adventure we would have never met any of those fine folks.

As God’s grace settles across the world, we are rich with blessings that seemed to appear from nowhere when we arrived back home. Were they always there? Of course. Wherever home might be, may your journey--outbound and inbound--bring you trust in God’s care and hope for the future. 

- Joanne Emmons


Comment by patricia of laurelton, NY

Merry Christmas JoAnne.

Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:33AM CST
Comment by Elizabeth

Dear Joanne, I'm glad that you felt welcome and fellowship with Christians here in England! I am so encouraged to know that you found that welcome even though there was a small congregation. I spend a lot of time taking services and preaching in very small fellowships, I'm going to one this morning. Thanks for reminding me that in the economy of the Kingdom size is not important and God can use unpromising looking situations. May He bless you and your family and your family this Christmas Day.

Posted December 25, 2016 at 01:06AM CST
Comment by Tom of Canal Winchester, OH

what a reminder written by Elizabeth that God can and does use unpromising looking situations to bring about His purposes .. witness the lowly manger. Thank you for writing Joanne to also bring to mind that all around the world God has His followers witnessing to Him and His blessings.

Posted December 25, 2016 at 03:52AM CST
Comment by Judy of Yalaha, FL

You have reminded about the cost of being a Missionary. Yes,rewards, but you humble those of us who minister in comfort.

Posted December 25, 2016 at 05:55AM CST
Comment by JK

Merry Christmas Joanne! Welcome home to the US and I echo what Elizabeth, Tom and Judy had so say(and obviously Patricia). Continued to be blessed and to be a blessing.

Posted December 25, 2016 at 06:07AM CST
Comment by cherie of Inverness, FL

Joanne, welcome back home!! I know you and your husband were beacons of light wherever you worshipped! Love to you both! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Posted December 25, 2016 at 06:23AM CST
Comment by Karippelil (K.E) of Gonzales, LA

Joanne, Thanks for the devotional for this morning as my wife and I are getting ready to travel to India. Thanks for your service and witnessing all across the globe. Would love to keep in touch.

Posted December 25, 2016 at 06:43AM CST
Comment by Edd of Ocala, FL

God provides love and friends no matter where we are, but as you have experienced nothing like home. God is Love 4 all!!!

Posted December 25, 2016 at 06:45AM CST
Comment by Carolyn of Austin, TX

A powerful message so beautifully written. Thank you!

Posted December 25, 2016 at 07:02AM CST
Comment by Joyce of Fayetteville, NC

Beautiful story. Thank you and blessings for a wonderful Christmas!

Posted December 25, 2016 at 07:24AM CST
Comment by Curtis of Arkansas City, Kansas

Joanne. Thanks so much for your beautiful devotion this Christmas morning! You remind us all that God's loving presence and gift of grace through Jesus are His richest gifts of all. Merry Christmas!

Posted December 25, 2016 at 07:34AM CST
Comment by Steve of Overland Park, KS

Joanne, thank you for the devotional and the postscript. Moving, inspiring, comforting and lovely. God's grace, peace and blessings be with you and yours.

Posted December 25, 2016 at 08:22AM CST
Comment by Sharon of Guntersville, AL

Merry Christmas, Joanne & family! Thank you for both your heartwarming devotion & your "epilogue"!! Being a military brat & later a military wife, I have spent many holidays away from family & close friends, many times overseas. We attended chapel centers where one worshipped either as Catholic, Jewish or Protestant. We all shared the same space, just at different times. Thank you for the reminder that God truly is present with us no matter where we may be, and that He loves us each with an unconditional love! May the Christmas Joy continue to bless you where ever you may live!!

Posted December 25, 2016 at 08:23AM CST
Comment by julie of Delray Beach, FL

Ga beatiful reminder that no matter where we are we can celebrate Christmas.

Posted December 25, 2016 at 08:24AM CST
Comment by Paulette of Miami, OK

Thank you, Joanne, for sharing such a sweet devotional. This is a lovely picture of you and your husband. I so admire missionaries. Thank you!

Posted December 25, 2016 at 08:55AM CST
Comment by Jonathan of Maple Valley, WA

This is beautiful. God truly can meet us anywhere. Each setting has its own unique beauty. We, too, must wait and watch for Him. Then we can enjoy sweet fellowship.

Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:20PM CST
Comment by Rev.Rajn of trivandrum, KY

Merry Xmas !
Thank you so much for the inspirational thoughts.
I'm a Pastor from India, running an old age home and taking care orphans and destitute children. If you would like to see pictures and know more for our Lord's sake, please mail me to

Posted December 25, 2016 at 11:38PM CST
Comment by Matt

Joanne Emmons, I got busy yesterday but even though it is the day after Christmas I'm still celebrating His birth & gift to us. Merry Christmas & God Bless

Posted December 26, 2016 at 03:09PM CST
Comment by Melanie of Houston , TX

I was very touched by your longing to share Christmas with Christians...I so relate. I loved the description of creaky wooden floors and small gathering...then the wonderous walk where you were overcome by appreciation. Thank you so much for sharing your gift of writing--and thinking--with the world.

Posted December 26, 2016 at 03:11PM CST
Comment by md of greater noida, OH

Posted February 04, 2017 at 02:34AM CST