Homecoming for the Holiday

November 22, 2008

Faith, Family


What’s missing from this picture?  My second daughter would say that the green bean casserole is missing – even though there are fresh green beans in plain sight.  My son would argue for a different pie configuration (with more whipped cream).  I would wonder where the pearl onions and pork sausage were.  But everyone sees the most important thing missing from this table: the people.

When the Pilgrim’s were in the new land, they had one another. They didn’t have their family.  Nor did they have the things that they were accustomed to from their homeland.  But they had one another – and they had new friends.  And for me, those are the most important things to remember as the holiday approaches.  I will probably post some sappy and maudlin missive on Thursday.  But for now, I’m thinking about one thing: how we’ll get the family assembled for this week.

Meredith is coming home today.  She lives about ninety minutes east of here.  But she is headed home for the week.  She’s had a great year – so far.  She is doing well in her graduate program.  And she has a good job on campus that is paying for most of her education.  What little is left is being paid for by a student loan.  And I am so grateful that there are people (beyond Mom and Dad) that are willing to invest in her future.  Their investment will be repaid with interest – of course.  But it is nice to remember that others believe in the importance of education – and the transformational effect it can have on our culture.

Dana is headed of to Clemson today.  She will be playing a game against the lady Tigers.  It will be her first game against an ACC school.  I guess I’m going to have to root for her rather than the home conference.  We’re praying that she has a great game.  Once the game is over, she will be spending the holidays with a friend of hers in Georgia.   We’ve told her that she needs to bring food.  So I’m guessing that she will make her favorite: green bean casserole.  For her, green beans come from a can and go well with mushroom soup and fried onions.  And she does a fantastic job of this.  Truly green bean casserole is her comfort food.  It’s always great to have a little comfort in your life.  And it is so ironic that core comforts can be assembled from parts you get “off the shelf.”  Joy is found in the little things – not just the elaborate things.

Bailey will be coming home from KU as well.  At this point, Meredith is probably going to meet her at KU and they will both come home together.  Then Bailey will be off to see her high school friends perform in the “Sweeney Todd” musical.  In many ways, she has her feet in different worlds.  I’m loving to watch as she gingerly moves both feet to her new world.  And I am so proud of her as she continues to make some very tough decisions.  It’s important to know that while most decisions are minor, some decisions actually impact other folks.  And some decision can even hurt.  But she is still making these decisions.  And as long as she keeps Jesus as her wing man, I’m trusting that she will grow into the person that God has envisioned.

And at this time, Adam will be home – as much as a teenage boy is wont to be.  Like most young men, he doesn’t think very far beyond the end of his nose.  But he has had a unique set of circumstances that have helped him to realize that there are consequences for the good and bad decisions that he makes.  And not every consequence is as desirable as the “choice” that you made.  While I can prattle on and preach about this ad nauseum, I’ll summarize: Adam is learning the lessons he needs to learn in order to become a good man.  And while I wouldn’t have chosen the path he is pursuing, I am glad hat he is beginning to understand that choices and consequences are part of the eternal dance that comes with free will.  Most people avoid the consequences of free will.  But people who are truly alive relish the reality that life is complex and uncertain.  And we must learn to always take others along with us on our voyage through life

So the kids are assembling.  And Mom and Dad are so very grateful for this.  And I will list all the “thanks” on Thursday.  But in the meantime, we are setting the table.  And everyone knows that a good Thanksgiving feast requires a lot of preparation.  So we are preparing a feast even as we have been preparing as the feasters.




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