So, as November turns into December we come to, what for many, is an exciting and special time of year.  Gathering with friends and family at Thanksgiving and then at Christmas time as well.  Many of us are excited to renew relationships with people who live far away and to have time away from the normal routines of life to spend days enjoying each other, and quite likely, some tasty food.

But not all of us are happy as holidays approach.  Many of us suffer grief as we remember the table we plan to sit around and it’s not the same without people who have died and had sat with us just last year or maybe 20 or 30 years ago.  So too, some of us will suffer loss and anxiety as we approach family situations that are less than ideal.  Maybe we’re estranged from loved ones or when we see them, old arguments and hard feelings bubble up to the surface.

At this time of year, no matter your affect and the places you will be, it’s healthy to know that you are loved and cared for in an unconditional way.  This unconditional love comes from God who has known you since you were in your mother’s womb, who sees you cry and also observes your joy, who wants you to be well.  So too, our God recognizes that through His Son a new relationship has been created and a new family gained.  A family not dependent upon blood but instead upon the radical grace of Jesus Christ, who for our sake was born to face the challenges of this Earth, and just like us, knows what it is to struggle and to find joy.

This holiday season, my prayer for you is that you know your family is bigger because Jesus has invited us all to the table.  I pray that within our church you have found or begin to find people who will endeavor to love you as God does and that when things are tough this holiday season you will lean on God and our church to support you.

Matthew 28:20b   Jesus said,And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”