I remember them well—the good old days when there was no Christmas separation.
My parents planned our Christmas Day celebrations, and I didn’t complain. We headed to my paternal grandparents’ home for lunch. The five of us gathered with my dad’s sister, my uncle, and their two kids. When we walked into the house, we discovered a mountain of presents around the tree nestled in the corner of a large living room. Our eyes bulged as we eagerly awaited the “opening ceremony.”
But not yet. First, we had to eat lunch. My grandfather’s tradition was ham, and he knew how to cook it just right. My grandmother cooked the sides. When all was done, the adults gathered around the dining room table, and we kids sat at the kitchen table. Of course, I didn’t mind. The old home only had gas space heaters. One sat beside my kitchen chair.
We gobbled our food, knowing what was next. As we circled in the living room, my oldest cousin played Santa and handed out the gifts. After a couple of hours of opening and playing with our toys, we headed thirty minutes down the road to my maternal grandparents’ old country home.
Mom’s sister, my uncle, and my cousins lived just next door. They walked the short distance to my grandparents’ house, where we ate . . . again. The present pile there was much smaller, but the love was just as great.
Fast forward twenty years. My family, brothers, their wives, and children gathered at Mom and Dad’s house. Our grandparents had died years prior, and now, Mom carried on the tradition. The food was homecooked, the presents were piled high, and the fellowship was precious.
Advance another thirty years. Miles, divorces, remarriages, grandchildren, and deaths have separated us, forcing us to celebrate this Christmas in segments. First, with one brother and his family, then another brother and his family. Finally, we’ll celebrate with our children and grandchildren. The entire process will spread over two weeks, not one day.
Such is the life most families live at Christmas. Despite the changes and the separations, one thing never changes—God’s love. Paul reminds us that nothing—death, divorce, remarriage, sickness, disease, financial challenges, or a sour economy—can separate us from God’s love.
Regardless of the Christmas separations we experience, we can still celebrate the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. And we can relish in His forgiveness, the abundant life He gives us presently, and the eternal home He promises us. Nothing can separate us from Him in the present or the future.
Among Christmas’ separation, celebrate the togetherness you can have with Christ and others.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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