hristmas is remembered fondly by many as a time for family. I certainly remember when I was a child in the 1950s and ‘60s, how we were part of the Christmas invasion of my grandparents home in Norfolk. We slept everywhere, beds, for the grown ups if they were lucky, and us children on very old camp beds that could, and often did, collapse in the night, sofas, sleeping bags on the floor etc. We all mucked in with whatever was needed and spent time playing with our cousins. It was great to experience being part of a big family and to know that we belonged. How my grandmother managed to preside over what seemed complete chaos and leave everyone of us, old and young, satisfied and happy, is beyond my comprehension! But dear granny with her large bosom and her never ending smile, always managed to do just that. Perhaps it was the gentle scent of her 4711 cologne that got her through !
Last year for most of us was rather different, but this year I suspect many of are looking forward to being part of a larger group once again. I guess we will enjoy it all the more because of having to go without last year. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but some of the absences that people experienced during our lockdown were often very painful, especially when it was the beginning of what became a final parting without the hand holding and kissing that they had always expected to have. So, this Christmas will be a time of remembering in different ways. Remembering the good times and the good people, all our dearest and nearest, those we love and those who love us. It has all enabled us to recognise again the importance of those of us blessed to have family.
But let us not forget those, no small number, who will be alone this Christmas, perhaps now we will know a little of what that must be like. Let’s hope that, as Jesus told us, “ there are many rooms in my father’s house”, and we might find ourselves able for the first time to open the doors of some of those rooms and not only greet those we find there, but also be welcomed in.”