On the Missing at Christmas


Yesterday was the first Christmas in 33 years that Lavone and I were alone.  It was mostly good.  That is, we didn’t mind being with one another exclusively.  In fact, we enjoyed not being on the spot, not having any expectations to match (or try), not having to do anything or go any where.  It was a Sabbath experience of sorts.

Yet, we had moments, especially toward the end of the day.  We had enjoyed being together, exchanging gifts of love which we hoped reminded us of the greatest GIFT.  But the celebration wasn’t complete.  The kids who belong in any true family celebration weren’t there.  The missing diminished our joy.

I’ve recalled the many who have no one, for whom every celebration is a reminder of something or someone missing.  We miss our children and larger family only temporarily (they arrive later today and this week) and this provides us with comfort others never know.  How thankful I am.  How my heart goes out to those who have no one.  How good it would be if someone would include them, and if their inclusion relieved a painful void created by awareness of the missing.

Then, again, my sense of diminished joy reflects an important dimension of God’s great gift to us.  In fact, God misses those who by creative and redemptive intent belong around his table.  My puny and partial sense of deprivation over missing people is dwarfed by this hugely felt void in God’s household.

What wouldn’t we do for the opportunity to include all of our kids at the table? 

What wouldn’t God do?

Published by David Kendall

Reverend David W. Kendall, an ordained elder in the Great Plains Conference, was elected to the office of bishop of the Free Methodist Church in May 2005. He serves as overseer of East Michigan, Gateway, Great Plains, Mid-America, North Central, North Michigan, Ohio, Southern Michigan, Wabash, African Area Annual Conferences; and Coordinator of oversight for the World Ministries Center.

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