I LOVE my family. I feel so firmly rooted in the family that surrounded me as I grew up in WV. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Oh my, the cousins I have. I think there are some I have yet to meet. And others who are practically sisters.
But wait. Some of my dearest family members were not, er, family in the traditional sense of the word. Grandma was actually Dad’s stepmother. But she married my grandfather long before I was born and so Grandma she truly was to me. And Aunt Bess was my great aunt’s sister-in-law. No actual kin–not even a cousin. But when we were together our hearts beat in unison.
We spent yesterday with some very special people. After a morning of worship with our church family I took a gift and headed to Barbara’s house. She’s a lovely lady who needed her leaves rakes and bagged this past fall. A volunteer group from church tackled the project and Barbara and I discovered a mutual love of the black bears in the area. So yesterday I took her a Christmas gift and we talked about bears for an hour or so.
In the evening, my husband and I hosted some neighbors for dinner. I’ve mentioned Agnes before–well, she’s in Hospice at the moment and we knew her family would enjoy a home-cooked meal. So we cooked a pot roast and a sweet potato pie and welcomed them to our table where we talked and laughed and prayed for Agnes.
I miss my family this time of year. I wish I could be with them all on Christmas morning from the littlest niece on up. But while my blood-family will always be the best kind of family, I’ve realized that there’s another kind that’s almost as good. It’s the family you get just be loving the people you meet. Neighbors, co-workers, dog-walkers, the lady who needs her leaves raked.
It turns out family isn’t all that hard to come by. Just love someone and odds are pretty good they’ll love you back. Now that feels like Christmas to me.