On Friday night I received one of the best Christmas presents I have ever received. Since I had a horrible sinus headache most of the day, after work I went straight home so I could relax for the evening. By 6:30 I had taken some medicine and was in my warmest pajamas glancing through magazines waiting for my husband to come home. Both of us had eaten a big lunch so we didn’t have to have to figure out what we were going to eat nor did either one of us have to cook dinner. It was my kind of evening with the peace and quiet I needed to prepare for all that needed to be done by Christmas day.
We climbed into the bed and while I continued to look through my magazines, my hubby scanned Netflix to find a movie for us to watch. Fifteen minutes later we settled on a movie when my phone rang. It was my son asking me if I had received the package he had sent me. I asked my husband if he had seen a package on the porch and he said he hadn’t looked. I climbed out of bed and opened the door to check to see if a package was hidden in the corner of the porch. As I was getting ready to respond that there was not package there, I saw feet approaching the porch. I looked up in shock because first of all I was wearing my pajamas, and secondly because there was more than one person coming towards me.
As I looked up I recognized a familiar face, it was my son Austin! He was followed by his wife and daughter. All I could do was scream with excitement. I scared my husband because he didn’t know what was going on. Soon he realized I was not screaming out of fear but out of joy. I grabbed my son and couldn’t hug them tight enough. This is one of the few times in my life my children have been able to surprise me. I couldn’t believe they had pulled it off. This was the first time in over seven years that he had been able to come home for Christmas. What made the visit extra special was they just got married in June and this is their first Christmas together.
Later in the evening when I was pondering the events of the day, my mind began to dwell on the Christmas story. I thought about how Mary and Joseph even though she was ready to deliver, had to travel back to their family’s home town to participate in the census. Luke 2:3-4 tells the story. “Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family.” So in reality, Mary and Joseph went home for Christmas.
The song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas was originally written to honor soldiers overseas who longed to be home for Christmas, but could not come home because of the war (World war II). It was later recorded in 1943 by Bing Crosby. When I listen to this song every year I can’t help but think about all of our children who are away from us. Eight years ago we were surrounded by all of our children with the exception of one. Now, our children are scattered across the United States.
With our own children being away from home, now I understand why my Mother used to be so excited to see us during the holidays. Once we were grown, two of us relocated out of state. Regardless of where were have lived, we always make plans to visit our home town during the month of December. Even though Mom is gone now, home is still a special place to be around the holidays. My Dad is tickled to see his daughters and his son in laws and his grandchildren.
According to AAA (Triple A) approximately 103 million Americans are traveling for the holidays. Of those travelers 94 million are driving. Most likely travelers are visiting family or returning home. Even though there are so many traveling during this season there are inevitably persons who are not able to be with family for the holidays. So what do you do when you can’t spend the holidays with family. Here are three suggestions:
1. Celebrate Christmas electronically. Send out texts to friends, family and coworkers wishing them love, peace and joy for the season. Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t talked to in a long time. Have a skype conversation or a face-time conversation with friends or family who live out of town.
2. Join in with another family. There is no reason to be alone for the holidays. You most likely have friends who are getting together with their family. My daughter has a college friend who was unable to make it home, so we were happy to have her join our family.
3. Celebrate Christmas by going to church. With Christmas being on Sunday this year, get up and get dressed and spend time with your church family on Christmas. Celebrate the birth of Jesus and the real reason for the season.
From our family to yours, we will you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach