Christmas is generally a time for family. But sometimes circumstances beyond our control make being with our family difficult, or in some cases, impossible.
I have experienced this in my own life. Last year, I didn’t have the chance to spend Christmas with many of my loved ones due to a rift in the immediate family. Perhaps you are currently or have in the past experienced something similar where work obligations or something more serious, like divorce or family issues, are keeping you apart.
This year, there is a small chance for a family reunion with people I have not been in contact with for over a year.
The situation reminds me of the prodigal son. We can all be each character in the parable…the one returning, the one that is accepting, or the one who was faithfully there the whole time. (If you are not familiar with the story, a son leaves his father and brother and squanders his inheritance, only to return asking to be taken back into the family, which his father immediately does. His brother in the story remains faithful to the father and stays home the whole time.)
In each instance, God asks us to look past ourselves toward reconciliation. The son has to humbly ask to be accepted back into the family; the father has to look past the wrongdoings of the past; and the brother has to look past his own jealousy at remaining faithful the whole time to remain part of the family celebration.
I hope that this Christmas, that like the father, I can look past the past, and embrace a new future.
Have you experienced a rift or separation in your own family? How did your faith get you through this experience?