Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Going Home

Synchroblog is a little community of essentially Christian blogs that post on a particular subject each month. Read more about it here and (assuming you're on Facebook) here. This month our topic is "Coming Home for Christmas." The bloggers who posted are listed at the bottom of this post for you to peruse. Visit them all! We're an interesting and eclectic group!

It may be that this Synchroblog was intended to conjure up images of festive times and happy reunions. But I'm afraid this one may be be a bit morose, although I still find joy in it. This is the first Christmas without my mom. She passed on in July after a couple of years of progressive dementia. I preached her funeral sermon.

My mother had an interesting relationship with Christmas. When we were kids it was the highpoint of her year. She loved to pick out -- or make -- presents for us and would sit there on the couch so sparklingly happy to watch us enjoy our new toys.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and people I had no earthly idea who they were would wedge themselves into our little house or we went to theirs. There was much too much turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pies.  Christmas records by Frank Sinatra and Perry Como blared, the living room was covered with yet more decorations than last year, and we had a little tradition: every year each of us boys would take one of the new Christmas tree ornaments and write our names and the year on it. She treasured those glass bulbs and guarded them with her life. That was her personal record of the blissful Christmases we shared together. With all the happy hubbub this was when mom was totally in her element.

End of Christmas

But later on, as I mentioned in my last Synchroblog, she accepted the idea some groups teach that Christmas and other traditional Christian holidays are based on old pagan practices and should be rejected. Following Christ as best she understood it was even more important to her than Christmas. So those joyous, raucous, happy, happy, so very happy Christmases essentially ceased for us in the mid-70's. Even later, when she grew old and came to believe she had been mistaken about the pagan holidays, she never celebrated Christmas again. Just ignored it.

So now she is gone and "at home with the Lord." I'm sure you can see where this is going. She is, as I believe, in the one place where people are the most at home of all, transcendently at home. The being Christmas is about is right there with her. Mom always said she'd have a lot of questions for him. Whatever the truth about Christmas really is, she knows it now and can joyfully, loudly celebrate Jesus and his invasion of this world with her parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and on and on backwards through the entire vast throng of her ancestors. And with our own celebrating here too. Because this Christian faith we profess insists that death is just a doorway and all of Jesus' people are eternally linked together in a "communion of the saints."

It's funny. When I think of mom and Christmas now I can only see the pre-1973, exuberant, close, warm ones with my enthusiastic mother running here and there, eagerly soaking in the joy all around her. We're not travelling anywhere this year. Physically, I'm already home with our tree up, ready for Christmas, enjoying my own family. And happy. But when I think of going home for Christmas, I'm afraid there is only one home I can think of.

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Here are the December Synchroblog blogs. Lots of thoughtful people here:

  • Christine Sine - Is There Room for Jesus to Find a Home In Your Heart?
  • Jeremy Myers - It Sounds Like Christmas
  • Nathan Kitchen - Coming Home
  • Michelle at Moments with Michelle - Home 
  • Mallory Pickering - I’m Kind of Homesick 
  • Bobi Ann Allen - Coming Home 
  • J.A. Carter - Going Home 
  • Glenn Hager - Where the Adventure Begins 
  • Marta Layton - Can You Ever Come Home Again? 
  • Peggy at Abisomeone - Abi Has Finally Come Home For Christmas 
  • Amy Hetland - Coming Home 
  • Coffeesnob - Home 
  • Carol Kuniholm - Advent Three: Redefining Home 
  • Liz Dyer - Advent 2013 The Way Home 
  • Harriet Long - The Body and the Sacred: Coming Home 
  • Edwin Pastor Fedex Aldrich - Who I Was Made to Be 
  • Emkay Anderson - Homemaking
  • Anita Coleman - At Home in the Kingdom of God
  • Kathy Escobar – Mobile Homes (Not That Kind) 
  • Jennifer Clark Tinker - My Itinerant Home 
  • Doreen Mannion - Heart is Where the Home is 

    AbiSomeone said...

    So sorry for your loss. This will be my second Christmas without my dad. May her "home going" be a source of bringing that which so many think of as "far away" all the closer. We are all, in God's mysterious ways, together in the communion of the Spirit.

    Be blessed, brother.

    JACarter said...

    Thanks, I appreciate that. God's blessings be yours as well.

    Doreen A Mannion said...

    Thank you for sharing your very personal story. I was very moved by it. I am sorry about your Mom. I hope she's making ornaments in Heaven; it sounds like she really enjoyed that.