Many people were away from their homes for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ–Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, the wise men, and most of all, Jesus Himself.
Several years ago, I was away from home for the holidays. Recently divorced, I moved to a new town the week of Christmas and knew no one–except my dog. I didn’t know my way around the town, and all I remembered was seeing a church several blocks from my house.
I mustered up enough courage to drive to the church for their Christmas Eve candlelight service. Churchgoers shook my hand, talked to me, and asked why I was in town. A kind family invited me to sit by them. I felt at home.
At the end of the service, I thanked them for welcoming me and wished them a merry Christmas. As I walked away, the mother-figure in the family came over and invited me to her family’s that evening–and if I had nowhere else to go, I could come to Christmas dinner with them too.
At first, I declined and said I didn’t want to impose. But she insisted–it would be no imposition. They had a large family and everyone would be there. I nodded. “Okay.”
I followed them home and enjoyed evening snacks and gift-giving. We laughed and played games. I felt at home.
The next day, I joined them for Christmas. Again, I felt at home.
It was just one invitation–but an invitation I’ll never forget.
Every year since then, my friends and I have hosted a Christmas party for singles and others who have little to no family in the area. We enjoy each other’s company and it is the “home for the holidays” that most wouldn’t otherwise have. Just last year, we had almost 40 people in my home. We laughed and played games. Can you picture a white-elephant gift exchange for 40 people ages 2 to 74? I enjoyed every minute of it, and I trust they did too.
They felt at home.
As you and your family approach Christmas Eve, Christmas, and even the New Year holiday, think about those who don’t have a place where they can feel at home. Call them. Reach out to them. Invite them home.