The first Christmas Katie and I were married, I discovered one of the many and growing number of reasons I am grateful she is my wife. We were living in Tennessee at the time. My family was in Ohio; hers was in Virginia. I don’t know how we made the decision where we were spending that first Christmas – coin flip, arm wrestling, drawing straws or rock-paper-scissors – but we ended up spending the holiday in Ohio with my family.
Right away I could tell Katie was having a hard time with our decision. I was reasonably sure it wasn’t that she didn’t like my family, but more likely she was struggling thinking about the first Christmas away from her own family. I couldn’t play today’s song without her crying, and she eventually prohibited me from playing it at all. Her dad bought us a web camera to take to Ohio with us so the Almond family could see each other on the big day. I felt bad for Katie’s struggle, but I have to admit there was something comforting knowing how important it was for her to spend Christmas with her family.
Almost all of my Christmas memories are about the family I made them with and the traditions that were a part of those gatherings. The Christmas Eve dinners, decorating the tree, staying in bed waiting for my dad to do a fly-over in the living room to make sure Santa had come. Sometimes I try to remember specific presents I got. I can’t recall many at all. But I recall so much about the hearts and souls that presented them.
The Christmas story is all about family.
I believe God sent a baby in a manger with hope we would embrace this child as more than a savior, but as family. Who is it in our earthly families that we all migrate to the quickest: the babies. I was reading yesterday that the word Father is used of God 15 times in the Old Testament of the Bible. In the New Testament, after the birth of Christ, God is referred to as Father 254 times. I think the message of Christmas is that we are ALL family, that we should treat and celebrate each other as such, and that we should be a family joined together for eternity.
This Christmas God has given each of us a webcam. Like our own fathers on earth, he longs to share in our day. I can’t imagine how much God anticipates that first Christmas when he has his whole family gathered together, when we’ll all be home for Christmas.