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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Family and Friends sharing plan

This is the time of year to eat sweets. We host two open houses a year: one in June, one in December. People like to bring food to share (we are Prairie TABLE, after all), and our Summer solstice party gets a lot of salads, and a couple of pans of bars. The Winter solstice party, on the other hand, brings out the cookies, candies, fudge, cakes, pies, and you-name-it concoctions of traditional ethnic Christmas recipes. (My hunting friends also bring along a sausage or two...) I love both of them, but I find it curious that when our days are short (we are getting about 8 hours of sunlight a day this time of year) we eat sugar, and when our days are long (we get about 16 hours of sunlight in June) we eat salad. As I said...curious...

Although we love to celebrate the joy of Christmas, it can be a melancholy time for many, especially those who have lost loved ones, or those for whom someone will not be around, possibly for the first time. It's been seven years since Chris and I and the girls have celebrated Christmas with any of our family...and we haven't been with Chris' family for probably twenty years. (Not that we haven't been well-taken care of by an adopted family or two, so don't feel sad for us, we have it made...all the benefits and no in-laws!) But we see all the marketing and publicity for family this time of year, and it really doesn't do too much for us.

Family for us isn't as much a question of blood these days as it is a question of sharing. We receive so many warm wishes and thoughts, so many gracious offers and invitations, that we are overwhelmed most of the time. I suspect this is a little different than what Jesus had to go through on those first years of his life...I suspect he was part of a large and intricate set of family relationships that shared out of blood and out of necessity. But when his life was over, at his cross were his mother and one of his friends...all the shining stars, holy nights, shepherds watching, angels caroling, and cattle lowing were all gone...there were no magi, gifts, or silent nights...I can imagine for Mary that first Christmas must have seemed so long ago that day...

But her Son didn't leave her bereft...he turned to his friend, and gave him his mother to be his mother, and he turned to his mother, and gave her his friend as her son...talk about a Christmas gift...on that day the man fulfilled what the little baby promised...we are all in this together as children of God.

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