Susanne and I just returned from a nine-hundred-mile four-state trip. It started when we flew to Madison, Wisconsin, and then drove a few miles to attend a Christmas party with pastors and their families. We visited with our friend Dr. Kevin Donley who was in hospice care. We joined up with fellow district superintendents and spouses. The next leg was to visit with our son and Kelly, where we celebrated his birthday and Christmas. Next, we went to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to see my sister and have a Christmas celebration with her, then a couple of days in Detroit, and finally back to Florida, where we started.
Home! What a word. “Home is where the heart is.” I will be home for Christmas.” “Home sweet home.” My favorite definition is “home is where when you show up, they have to let you in!” I have lived in many places; home has been a spare bedroom, apartment, and house. Each of them was special for only one reason: they were home.
Because of a doctor’s appointment, we could not stay with our family and had to return home. Some observations concerning Home for Christmas:
- Some are experiencing a lot of loss this Christmas. Don’t forget them.
- Some are far away from their home this Christmas. It may be jobs, military, nurses and doctors, first responders, and many other essential workers.
- Some are experiencing their first Christmas without a parent, spouse, child, loved one, or friend. Be sensitive to those around us.
- Some are estranged from their families. There is a lot of hurt and pain in the world.
- Some are discouraged and depressed. Be an encourager, listen, and offer your full attention.
Though you may not be home or what you consider home, look around and see if there is someone you can help. People who need encouragement, a listening ear, and kindness are everywhere. The best way to get out of the doldrums is not to concentrate on yourself but to be of service and help to someone else.
This is not only the season for family and friends; it is the season to widen our circle and include some who are lonely and hurting. Today I am thankful for the coming of Christ into the world. He is the Light, and it has shined in my life. Throughout the years oftentimes His grace worked its way into my life through the ministry and help of others.