Advent 2016 Devotional: December 11

December 11, 2016

Christmas Eve Truce

screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-9-44-24-amBut he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:48-50

As a child the evening of Christmas Eve was different. The one night of the year that I never had to think about my family getting together. We just did. It was happy. It was automatic. We would dress up in our best clothes and arrive at my Grandmother’s country house early in the evening. My grandmother would be busy in her small kitchen and many would join in to help her finish preparing the ‘big’ Christmas Eve meal of Turkey, Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Salad, Green Beans, Hot Rolls, and Cold Carrots. There was an instant family familiarity as it appeared that each member of the family would fall into their traditional role: mine telling jokes at dinner. As a child, it was the only meal I remember that was begun with a prayer. The eyes of this child did not see any underlying peculiar hidden realities of the situation: the family tensions, anger, jealousies, and dysfunctional dynamics at play. On Christmas Eve night, our family would try to put them aside: a night of family peace.

The years rolled forward. The child’s understanding became an adult’s. Many family stories underlying the ‘real’ dynamics of the times are revealed and do not matter anymore to anyone. Family members have died or became mentally incapacitated and/or all live over a thousand miles apart. And yet, decades later, I still hold those nights of peace as some of my most cherished memories. When I picture family members that have passed way, my first thoughts of them are from these memories. They were smiling, jovial, relaxed, and happy.

So as you go into this day, this season, I wish peace to you and your families. I pray for family truces, understanding, patience, forgiveness, and reconciliations. Peace go with you.

Prince of Peace help us to be patient with our families and people we love. Help us to create safe spaces for listening, acceptance, and reconciliation.  

JD and Kay Walther have been members of South Main since 1986. JD works for the Emergency Aid Coalition.