Going Home for Christmas
I guess Joseph and Mary were the first couple to go home for Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Our Christmas celebrations all have so much tradition involved; each family adds their own personal traditions as well. But, going home, reuniting and celebrating with family, is one that is understood and shared by everyone, even if it doesn’t happen just that way for some, and even though we aren’t called to do so by government census takers. It’s something we want to do. It’s something we need to do.
How many of us remember the first family visit as a betrothed? Showing off the ring, meeting the future in-laws, learning the traditions of the new family? For many, I’ll bet it was Christmas! Remember the first trip “back home” for Christmas as newly-weds? Do you remember your first-born’s first Christmas with the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? I do.
When Dave and I first met, we were in our first two years of high school. We’ve shared 60 Christmases. From Michigan State University, to New York, then many other states, we never lived near our parents’ homes. We always traveled “home” for Christmas, first with one child, then two, three, four, five, six and seven. Thank God we didn’t have to travel by donkey! Our children have wonderful memories of those short winter vacations in Michigan playing, sledding with cousins and singing with my dad. To hear their stories it sounds like we spent half the year there and it was all wonderful! I remember it as an exercise in packing, unpacking, herding for two or three days, and packing up again for hundreds of miles, with diapers and snowpants filling every nook and crannie in our cold VW bus. I’m so grateful for those Christmas memories from our little town we called “home.”
Next weekend, seven adult Klingel children, spouses and kids, will be packing, driving and reliving the tradition of going home for Christmas, though none of them have actually lived in this house. Our family tradition is to reunite the weekend following Christmas. I remember so well how it was to take little ones away from their tree and gifts, have to miss Church, travel on Christmas (nothing is open!)…so we decided they shouldn’t do that. We tell them to stay home for Christmas. Be at your own Church, enjoy your own tree, and come see us the following weekend, and we’ll have Christmas. Christmas Day is quiet and lonely here, however!
Our oldest daughter posted this hilarious picture last week on her facebook page. Her siblings laughed and commented memories of those trips. The VW bus is just like the one that hauled us, wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags, into the arctic elements of Michigan, making warm memories of “going home” for Christmas