One of our neighbors, who works with college students, living away from home, made a social media post that was the best I’ve seen all year. In it, she invited any of the college students she works with, who weren’t able to be home with their families for Thanksgiving, to come to her house instead of spending it alone.
Having spent many Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays far from home and family, either on call or working through the holiday, I was impressed and touched by her invitation to the folks she works with and often refers to as her kids.
Her invitation was an excellent example of the Gospel in action. Her family has a beautiful home but it’s not a huge one. Her own family would be there for the holiday, which included relatives who’d travel several hours to spend it with them as well. Yet, knowing it might make for cramped space, she made the invite anyway, and knowing her, I know she was sincere about it.
When I hear folks say, “Family is everything...” it causes a catch in my spirit, especially when it comes from folks claiming to be Christians. Family isn’t everything. JESUS is everything... Beyond Him, everything and everyone is a blessing that He’s provided.
And, the Jesus way, is to do what my friend, Holly did. She offered fellowship where it was especially needed during the holiday season.
Having worked through far more holidays than I didn’t, due to a long career in the medical field, Holly’s gesture reminded me of the many holidays I spent with friends.
During the years I worked in transplant, those of us on call together for the holidays, often spent it at our friend Carol’s home so that we’d be together if our pagers went off, and not far from the transplant center if we were sent on a case. We became our own version of family. That’s one example, but there are others that reflect it in every state and country I’ve lived in. It was a blessing God provided more times than I can remember, and I’ll be forever thankful for it.
Most all of my military friends have similar experiences, knowing the blessing of being with family that isn’t of genetic relation, and sometimes under challenging circumstances. The challenges tend to produce a life-long kinships that time doesn’t diminish.
This year, for the first time in my life (weather permitting), I’ll be spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in church. Not a single member of the congregation is kin to me, but they love each other as if they are, and thankfully, me too, even though they’ve only known me for a short time. But, from a longevity perspective, go back far enough and we’re all related. That’s at least the natural side of it.
On the supernatural side, we have the common bond of Jesus and His blood that was shed to redeem us at the greatest price ever paid, for anything, anywhere, at any time.
It’s also worth noting that the only blood-kin present to celebrate the Lord’s birth were His parents. My belated thanks to the shepherds who showed up to love and worship the Boy King, our Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace, lying in His simple manger.
May the Lord bless all of you this holiday season, and especially those who keep it in Christian perspective, remembering who isn’t everything, and celebrating Who is...
For a child is born to us. A son is given to us; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on David’s throne, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from that time on, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this.
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