Well, here it is Christmas morning. I am in Aiken, North Carolina where some of the family (my brother John and his wife Donna, and their three daughters, Ann ( a doctor, GP, and her husband Dave), Barbara (an electrical engineer and her friend, Hans, a doctor, alsoGP, from Germany), Karla (who teaches Biology as the university of Santa Barbara in California), Katrina, the daughter of Ann, and me (the happy wanderer).
Ann is busy cooking some bacon and Barbara is helping her. Donna is taking a break from wrapping Christmas presents. Katrina is playing with her computer. John is up and about and the others are all in various stages of activity. It is about 8:30am and I am surprised that everyone is already up. I am the early bird and by 5:30am I have showered, dressed, made the bed and am checking the emails and news from around the world (after saying my morning prayers, of course).
I have been out for a long walk to wear off some of the fat that I have been accumulating over the past 6 months. I have also checked a site called "Deacon Greg" who has some excellent thoughts for sermons and will use some of his thoughts this morning.
We will have a family home Mass to celebrate Christmas properly after breakfast and before the Christmas feast (at the table that is!)
It is soooo nice to be with the family as it is rare that in these past 46 yrs. since I left that I have had a chance to celebrate Christmas with my family (maybe 3 times in all those years). But I am also preparing for the departure in a few days to go back to what has been " home " for me for these past 46 yrs. I am caught in between.
I think of the Vinny that I talked about earlier and of all the hurts and burdens that my family and friends carry into the new year. Some have very heavy burdens and they really weigh down heavily. Everyone has something to deal with. And, maybe the good news is that famous word " Emmanuel" God is with us. We are not alone. We don't walk alone or carry our burdens alone. Incarnation. Becoming one with us, as brothers and sisters of one Father / Mother (God). Perhaps, last year, we wondered how we would ever be able to carry our burden but, here we are, the old year is almost gone and the new year is just around the corner, and we did it. Yes, God is still with us. I hope that we can all listen to that reminder this Christmas. By sending us God's Son, God was saying, loud and clear, I love you and walk with you so don't be afraid of whatever! I am here.
So, there you have it. Soon I will be back in South Africa and jumping back into the fray there. Our friendship and love continues into the new year, perhaps even deepened by the experiences of this almost past year 2012. May God continue to love and bless you now and throughout all of 2013.