Sunday, December 30, 2007

December 30: The Word was Home

This morning’s Gospel was John’s magnificent poem that begins his Gospel, including those stunning words, “The Word was made flesh and dwelled among us,” or, as I like to translate, “The Word was made flesh and made a neighborhood with us.” As I said Christmas Eve, “Christmas is the Feast of God’s Homecoming.”

The Word at home today was a Christmas gathering of one half of my extended family—the Johnson’s. I remember these from as early as I can remember. They began as Christmas morning breakfast at my grandmother’s in the sixties. After her death, and really ever since, they have been the weekend after Christmas. For years presiding over the gathering was my great-grandmother Pearl. After ten years of her being gone I still miss her. Now my mother is the great grandmother with both her greats—Scotty and Teagan—there. The absence of my cousin Jeff for the first time since his death was felt deeply. His wife and kids came, which was a wonderful blessing. Besides brand new Teagan there was a cousin with a brand new baby and two more on the way. A new generation of kids were everywhere.

I would be the first to admit that family is not always all that it is cracked up to be, and mine is certainly as dysfunctional as most others I know. Yet there we were for an afternoon in our own little neighborhood and most was right with the world. And I kept thinking about the Word made flesh and coming home among these people, not just these people, obviously, but yes among these people. Flaws and struggles and sadness mingled in the room with love and laughter and caring. That’s probably the most for which any family or other manifestation of “neighborhood” could ask. And it is where came and comes to hang his hat. My, my, it can really take your breath away if you think about it.

The picture is of my sister and I with the oldest of the next generation—Scotty.

Happy Sixth Day of Christmas!

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