Who Are You Celebrating with this Christmas?By Carla Clemens
The Glorious Table
Christmas. The very word makes my heart beat faster. I am blessed to have an awesome little family of boys to celebrate with every year.
Being in the military has taken our family far from our hometown. Getting back for the holidays has not happened since my oldest son was a newborn, and he is almost nine now. Santa didn’t visit that first Christmas, so we took our little man to see the rest of the family instead.
Since then, we have grown used to Christmases without our extended family, but that doesn’t mean we don’t miss them. We have simply found other people to love on and invite into our home. It’s been so fun. My husband has invited the whole crew he works with to join us more than once. Of course, not everyone comes, but we always have enough guests that I can cook to my heart’s content and enjoy the hustle and bustle of a house full of people enjoying the season, the day, and each other.
Being in the military seems to imply that holidays must be especially hard. And they are sometimes, like when a spouse is deployed or something extra special is going on with your family in your hometown and you know you’re missing it. I also know some people find it incredibly hard to be away from their extended families in general, so the military lifestyle can be hard on their hearts. This is often highlighted during holidays.
Some civilian families experience these same situations. Maybe a spouse travels a lot, or they have just moved to a new town and feel alone. Maybe there has been a big change you can’t see. Sometimes I think it might be easier to be in the military in these types of situations because often, military members and their families make a concerted effort to take care of each other. We all know what it is like to be away from our families, and the holidays are a great reason to extend invitations to celebrate together.
Each place we have been stationed with the Air Force has brought us special friends. But our current station in Hawaii brought with it some families who really love celebrating together. This means complete chaos at the house of whoever is hosting because we have a lot of kids among us. But we make it work and enjoy good food, each other’s company, and the opportunity to celebrate our Savior together.
One great thing about celebrating holidays with all the people we’ve met is that we are a diverse bunch. There is no requirement for specific beliefs, and we don’t feel like we all have to agree on everything. When our family is the host, though, our desire is to show the love of Jesus by simply letting our friends know who and why we are celebrating and then loving them with the same kind of love Jesus extends to us.
Maybe you don’t live near a military town, or maybe you do and you already have your own family to celebrate Christmas with. Either way, have you looked and really seen the people around you? Have you noticed a longing in anyone to be celebrating Christmas with more hustle and bustle or just simply to celebrate with another family so they don’t feel so overwhelmed by their circumstances? Maybe your family wouldn’t mind if you extended an invitation to join your celebration? Is there someone God might want you to reach out to this Christmas?