Romans 12:13 – Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (NIV)
Traditionally, we like our family to be together on Christmas Day. If that is physically impossible, we at least try to make contact by telephone or webcam.
One Christmas Day, my son and his family were at their home in the beautiful mountains of British Columbia, Canada, while our daughter's family were at our house in Toronto, Ontario. Our twin grandsons had a friend named Richard, whose parents were away in Australia on business. Because we include others in our family celebrations, he was invited to be part of the family for Christmas.
Using a speakerphone on each end, we connected. As each person spoke, they identified themselves. It was a lengthy, lively, loving conversation with lots of laughter, but when Richard spoke and said his name, my lawyer granddaughter, out in British Columbia, said, "Hold it! Do I have a cousin I don't know about?" When the situation was clarified, all was well, but it obviously made Richard move from being a stranger to being one of the family.
I now live in a residence where there are many widows, widowers, and others who feel bereft of family. There is frequent talk of how important it is that the staff and others make us feel part of the family.
A gentleman who sits at my table shared with me one day that he had no family. He was educated at Oxford, came to Canada with an unsuccessful marital arrangement, graduated from the University of Toronto with a PhD and was the Department Head of Psychology at one of Toronto's major hospitals until twenty years ago, when something inexplicably happened to his memory capacity.
There are two ladies who come in on alternate weekends to check on him. I spoke with one of them, and she validated the facts that he had told me. She had been his senior assistant and is still filling that position today. I am absolutely amazed that these two staff members are going out of their way to act as his family. He must have been a terrific boss to earn such loyalty.
The doctor has a great sense of humour. A few days ago, his watch stopped. He sent it out to have the battery replaced. He said he felt lost without his watch but when it was returned, he said that he felt like a new person. "Now," he said, "if only they could get a new battery for my brain, I would really feel great!"
I never knew this man until he moved in just over a year ago. Now, he is part of the family.
The need that we feel to be part of a family is universal. The opportunity that we each have to reach out and make others part of our family is equally wide open.
May we all make the effort to be a family builder at this holiday time.
Prayer: Dear Father, we thank You that Your love is demonstrated through Your relationship with Your Son, Jesus. We thank You that we can be part of Your family through His sacrifice. Even as we celebrate His birth may we reach out in love to others. In His name, we pray. Amen.
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