Ask most people what they look forward to most about the holidays and you will – more often than not – hear something about how much they enjoy time spent with family. Take away the trappings and twinkling lights; forget about the presents and over-abundance of food, what really truly makes the celebrations of the seasons so special are family.
I think back to my childhood and I can recall snippets of a dozen Christmas celebrations or more. In my minds-eye, I can replay the scenes of my family crowded around the living room in my childhood home, knee-deep in presents, thought-fully taking our time opening each gift that my mother had purchased. I am embarrassed to say it took hours some times. She loved to shop and, because her own childhood Christmases were so paltry, she went totally overboard every year. It was the one time of the year we were indulged in complete excess!
I hope it isn’t hurtful for her to know that I barely remember most of the gifts we received each year. Sure, a few major ones stick out. But what I really remember, even cherish, are the pictures and memories in my mind of the time we spent laughing and sharing together. Family time at our house was scarce. But Christmas was untouchable. We were all together and hours were spent laughing, playing games, eating, discovering new toys and gadgets. Those memories are far more valuable than anything wrapped under the tree!
My own family Christmas is sacred. We don’t travel for Christmas – we made that mistake only once – and it reinforced why we made the decision we originally did. Family time is meant for home, for tradition, for togetherness. I want my daughter to have the memories of her home and our routine. It will be different from mine, with our quiet ways and no siblings. But precious, I pray, nonetheless.
We make a point to reach out each Christmas to dear friends who celebrate alone. The ones who have family far away, or are estranged from theirs and would otherwise celebrate alone. The Gift of Family is precious to me and one I want to make sure no one does without knowing the beauty of it at Christmas. I am blessed to have my sweet little family; and even more blessed to have a home with many more seats at the table than we typically need. I don’t want anyone celebrating Christmas alone; I gladly share my family and the warmth and love of our home with others.
Remember what is says in Hebrews 13:2…
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
I hope you are surrounded with The Gift of Family this Christmas. Celebrate it richly! But if you know someone who might be alone, invite them to join you. No one should be without the love and laughter of a family.