From the Parsonage...
From the Parsonage…
With the warm weather we had all through
September and most of October, I was beginning
to wonder if it was ever going to be time to get out
the fall decorations. Somehow gourds, pumpkins,
and brightly colored leaves seem a little foolish
when the temperature is in the 80’s and 90’s! Now,
however, it looks like fall has arrived and the holidays are right around the corner. Not only do the stores have Thanksgiving wares out, but they’re also filled with Christmas trees and décor. With that being said,
I wonder just what the holidays will be like this year, especially if we’re still limited by the threat of Covid 19.
When I was a little girl, both Thanksgiving and Christmas centered around family. My grandfather and his brothers all migrated from Kentucky to Ohio in search of work, which they found in the various factories in Middletown. Once they were settled, they sent for their wives and children, and Middletown soon became home to quite a large Howard clan. And that clan loved to get together! These gatherings were an important part of my childhood, and Thanksgiving and Christmas were tied up in that tradition. Then the older generation began to pass away, and, before long, our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations were reduced to immediate family.
As my parents grew older, the holidays started to center around them, with their children and grandchildren showing up as much as possible. It became more difficult as children grew up, married, moved away, and added their children to the mix, but the family focus was the same. Even when my parents retired and moved south, we would either head for their house or they would make the trip to ours for the holidays. In 2003, they moved back to Ohio, and I became the “official” holiday hostess. We generally had a houseful with four generations represented and lots of food and presents, and that continued until five years ago, when Mom and Dad passed away within seven months of each other.
Once again, the numbers dropped to immediate family, and, this time, I was the older generation!
I want to carry on this tradition of holiday gatherings, and I wonder why it seems harder in the world we live in today. Is family less important now or is everyone just too busy? Maybe the fact that children and grandchildren no longer remain in the area where they grew up makes it less likely for families to be as close as they once were. Of course, family can be a big part of the holiday, but what about those who don’t have any family to share the day with or those who may be stranded on their own somewhere as they try to make the trip home? How do these things affect us each year?
Sure, family is great, but maybe we need to look deeper into the real purpose of the Holiday Season for an answer that’s about more than just family. Thanksgiving is a time to remember all the blessings that God has provided and to give Him the thanks He deserves. Christmas is a time to remember the Greatest Gift that God has given and to celebrate the birth of that Gift! That answer can’t be limited by any virus or circumstance, and that answer applies to everyone!
“Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known
among the nations what He has done.”