Not Seeing People at Christmas


Charles Brammall on a different Christmas

Our Christmas will be lovely this year. It always is. But Christmas can make us remember who’s not there, who we’d like to be. A sibling. Or parent. A grandchild or uncle or niece. Or spouse or grandparent or best friend. And not just because they’ve passed away either. Both my parents are with the LORD, and I have vivid and joyful memories of our Christmases together. A teenage-size bike for me, hiding behind our front door, wrapped! Mum’s dress – always the same each year. Ham and Hot English Mustard sandwiches for breakie on Christmas day. I have sweet memories while Mum and Dad were alive. But I won’t particularly miss them this Christmas

But Christmas can make us remember who’s not there for other reasons. Sometimes it can be the only time in the year when you’re likely to see a particular relative or friend. So you notice even more that they’re not there at Christmas, unlike other times. It doesn’t occur to you as much for the rest of the year. So, to not see them at Christmas can be difficult. I may not see my four wonderful kids this Christmas, and if I don’t, it will be sad. But it’s not the end of the world. I will see the rest of my family. Coming to our place for the first time are my older brother (my bestie) and sister-in-law, our niece, and a dear and old friend. We’ll laugh. The Scandi-themed lunch will be spectacular – my darling wife Chiq is a creative and standout cook. Everyone will “Ooh” and “Aah” at the exquisite flavours, aromas, and decor.

There’ll be pressies (we’re “not allowed to”, but everyone ignores that!). And maybe Christmas pudding with imperial – non-poisonous – coins in it. Not to mention lots of wrestling with George Washington, our Beagle puppy. We expect church will be great. Some of our friends from the dog park, non-churchgoers, are joining us. (They have already come to our pre-Christmas women’s evangelistic “Paint and Sip” with mocktails, and to our Carols). One of these ladies has read a Christian book we gave her. Others have come to church with us before. It’s exciting. God is good all the time.

The sermon on Christmas Day will be clear, and I expect it to be inspiring and hard-hitting. The hymns and songs will be powerful (they always are). The band will punch above its weight, as it always does.  There may even be a lead guitar break (my happy place!).

The service leader will be warm, funny and disarming. And when we wake up on Christmas morning, Chiq and I will have a lovely morning with good coffee and opening our presents to each other. There will be ham and hot English mustard sandwiches on white bread again (we both grew up with this!), and cuddling each other and puppy George.

I love Christmas. Always have. I love God the Son coming to earth to share our bliss, and agony. And to give Himself up so we could become beloved, lovely, precious children of the Father. But some of our loved ones may not even think of Him this Christmas. Let’s pray daily that they will. And pray earnestly. Sometimes with tears. Because we know God can do much more than even our wildest dreams. Even things we’ve never dreamed of. Such is His indescribable might and kindness.

Christ-mas. The “Christ Feast”. The Messiah-banquet. The meal of the eternal, international, all-powerful Ruler. God’s hospitality. The wedding breakfast, with the Lamb. With all of our family. The Lord’s invitation to all who are His. Let’s pray that lots of our friends and family who we don’t expect will become His this year. Happy Christmas!