My wife, Cherie, challenged me to write this column about what it might look like if I couldn’t make it home for Christmas.
Life is so fragile; it is not something to be taken lightly. We are grateful for the time that we do have and we understand it is sometimes like a vapor. Poof! – and it’s gone.
Christmas is a special time and for many of us there are those traditions that we enjoy each year. Many of us enjoy trimming our Christmas trees, putting up our Christmas lights, and driving around different neighborhoods enjoying the Christmas cheer.
The question is, what if you don’t make it home for Christmas this year? Christmas is for many a time when we get to enjoy family and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Yet for some this year might be different. Maybe this year there might be an empty place around the table when family gathers. Maybe a friend or relative has died, a spouse is gone, or a son or daughter has been deployed overseas with the military.
That void is often particularly felt during the holidays.
Maybe this is why the message of Christmas is so important. The belief that God really is with us throughout this life does provide a certain peace and assurance. “Emmanuel” means “God with us.” If God is with us in this life, then we also affirm and believe that God will be with us in the next. Whatever your particular belief system is, it’s hard to improve upon that promise.
So as I reflect on Christmas this year, I think about the relationships of which I am part. How am I with the people whom I love? How will I celebrate “home” this year and with whom will I celebrate it? That theme is such a significant part of Christmas. Every relationship that we have is a part of Christmas. Those whom we love, those who have hurt us, and those who are simply part of our daily lives can be placed in perspective as we consider the God who came into the world to be with us. Christmas really is a time to value and appreciate the people in our lives.
If for some reason I could not be home for Christmas this year I would want my family to know they are loved, highly valued, and that nothing bad has happened during the past year that has not been forgiven and forgotten.
We often drive ourselves crazy this time of the year by setting wrong expectations on each other and on ourselves to do Christmas, when in fact Christmas was done for us. As a little boy I remember waking up one Christmas morning and finding a sled underneath the tree. It was an exciting day because I knew that day I would be able to spend with my father climbing the hills and riding that new sled down the slopes laughing all the way.
Christmas really is a time of reflection. It’s a time of family, a time for going home.
At the conclusion of this year Cherie and I want all our readers to know what a privilege it has been to share our impressions of Fort Mill with you. We are blessed to be part of this community. We are blessed to have been accepted and loved by each of you. Your comments and feedback have continually been an encouragement to us.
With all sincerity we can say that we truly feel that we are “home” this Christmas as we share the holidays with you in this beautiful and amazing community.
Merry Christmas 2013, and together may we experience a prosperous and blessed New Year!
William Winship and his wife Cheri moved to Fort Mill in the past year. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.