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Christmas – It’s Worth the Effort

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about all of the efforts that my family went through for holiday visits. My grandparents lived hundreds of miles away, but every year we made a grand effort to go to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with them. It was a great effort on the part of my parents. There were times when we fought blizzards; when we were too busy, making the miles seemed difficult; and then as we grew older and schedules proved more difficult, we still powered through. When I got married, we added my in-laws to the visit schedule, but continued the tradition.

I’d like to talk to you a little bit about what’s going on right now. I wonder what my parents and grandparents would think about the visitation recommendations that are existing because of COVID-19.

I have to think about what my parents and grandparents had been through in their lives. My grandparents were married about the time of The Depression; my great grandmother lived with, and was cared for, by my grandparents for over 30 years; they went through World War II during which my grandmother’s brother was captured and spent the duration of the war in a Japanese prison camp; my grandfather was bed ridden for a year when he broke his neck in a train accident; they went through raising two hemophiliac children, one who died in a playground accident at the age of 8 and the other one who died years later, but still in his early 50s; they persevered.

My parents went through a divorce; they went through some tough financial times; there were multiple moves and different jobs; but in the end, they persevered.

My parents and grandparents are all deceased, but I “guess” that I believe that they would have incredible perspective about the visitation restrictions. I’m sure that my parents would be very concerned about giving my grandparents COVID-19, and my grandparents would be concerned about our health equally as well. I feel like that this one year they would say, “it is worth the effort” not to spend time together as a group.

I’m speculating. I don’t know how they feel. But, I know that they loved each other so much that they would do anything for each other.

If you find that you’re faced with a difficult decision with whom to spend Christmas or other holidays, just make your decision out of love. I don’t have the right or wrong answer. As long as we’re motivated out of the love and respect that we have for our families and desire to not only see them, but to keep them safe, we’ll make the best decisions we can.

What did I do this Thanksgiving? This year, we did not spend time with my sister and her family out of concern, but we did have our children and our grandchildren together. It was a small group, but we sent a lot of love to other family members through texts and phone calls. I feel that next year will be much different and we’ll appreciate even more the opportunity to spend the time together.

During our Thanksgiving meal this year, and I know this coming Christmas, I will recall an incident that occurred at our church several years ago (let me quote from that prior article that I wrote), “As I was looking out the east window of our church, through stain glass, with the sun streaming in, we sang a song ‘People, Look to the East’. Just as we finished that last line of the song, the dark shadow of several birds flew by the windows heading to the north. I felt like it was my grandparents, my parents, and my wife’s parents, flying free, but letting me know they were still with us.”

Though we cannot be together in person, we can still be with family members, both past and present, in spirit.

My sincere heartfelt wish for all of you is that you make it through this pandemic; that you give it the opportunity to bring you closer to your family; and that you see it as a time to become a more caring person with great perspective.

Merry Christmas.


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