This Christmas hasn't been like any other Christmas I've ever experienced.
It's not the first time we've been without extended family, but it was the first time in my entire life that we haven't had people other than our immediate family around the table. I had sought out others who might want to join us, but it seemed everyone had somewhere to go. When I realized this I felt undone. The gathering together is as essential to me as the gifts and the carols. We've always shared our table with others who were also without family or who would otherwise be alone.
I felt bent. Unreasonably bereft. Couldn't really look the thought in the face. Finally had to. Why was this so hard for me? I'm not unaware that I have much to be thankful for...
I have a friend who dreams of what it would be like to have a quiet Christmas. As we talked at the Christmas Eve service about the challenges of our different situations, I found myself declaring adamantly, "Wherever we find ourselves, we need to find Him! He will be with us--we need to be alert to His presence."
My kids were unsettled when they realized no one would be joining us at our table. Turkey dinner was vetoed. While they all watched a movie I sought inspiration in the kitchen...and it came.
My Oma's biscuits, cut with the Christmas tree cookie cutter...
Locally made sausage and cheese. Table set with a cloth gifted by a friend who is having her own unusual Christmas overseas this year. Gingerale poured into crystal goblets and candles lit...
Everyone laughed with delight at our odd Christmas feast. We held hands 'round the table and gave thanks. I found Him there. He is in us and we are in Him.
"I have told you these things
so that you will be filled with my joy.
Yes, your joy will overflow!"