Tuesday, December 23, 2014
“You can never love people as much as you miss them.” ― John Green
As happy a time as Christmas is, it is also a very sad time for us and for most families. Christmas day reminds us not only of the birth of Jesus, but also of those we love and with whom we used to share the happiness of Christmas day. My mother and father, Karen’s mother and father, all of our grandparents are with God and the angels and while that’s a comfort, their very real absence on Christmas morning is a living, breathing sadness that cannot be overcome. For missionaries, we have children and grandchildren living thousands of miles and a continent away that will not be with us. Not to mention that Christmas is never the same as the children grow up. The excitement and joy that kept them from sleeping on Christmas eve is gone. The ability to create jumping for joy happiness over a toy truck or new doll is gone forever. We have our memories to be sure. My oldest son just wrote me to ask if we had a picture of a gift I built for him when he was five years old (42 years ago) because it was so important to him. We have had some special Christmases. One Christmas we travelled to a wilderness area in California only to discover that you couldn’t cut trees or buy them in environmentally protected areas, so that Christmas, we had a Christmas branch with no leaves, but decorated with lights and tinsel anyway. We won’t forget that one soon. And then there come the Christmases where one member of the family is missing for the first time, a grandmother, a father, a mother, or in really sad cases, a child. Thanks to modern technology, we can see and talk to our children and grandchildren in real time on our big television set (thanks to my son, John) and watch the little ones open their presents. It’s not the same as being there, but it helps. Here, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, we also miss the decorations, the carols, the parties, and in my case, egg nog especially. I had one aunt who used to always make rum balls that I just loved. I told that story to our Australian missionary friends, and Samantha actually made me some rum balls just to make my Christmas more special. That’s what I call a real gift. So, before this gets too sad, my main point is that because Jesus was born, all those who are no longer with us will be with us once more, just not now. I have had dreams of my father as has Karen of hers, and I know we will once again be reunited. Christ came to free us from death so that it became a door yet to be opened with the real Christmas on the other side. Remember that those who are not with you now will be with you again thanks to that little baby born in a manger. That’s the real meaning of Christmas.