My oldest son purchased his first home a few months ago. He is enjoying being independent, living in his own place. His little fixer-upper is coming together very well. I’m so excited for him. But I’m also a little sad that he wasn’t here when we were decorating our house this year. We don’t put up as many decorations as we used to, simply because I am not able with my chronic pain. When he was living here, he did much of that for me and it was such a help. Mostly though…I just miss him sitting around the table with us. He is a wonderful son still, and reaches out to me each and every day with at least a phone call. His leaving was a sign of growth, both physically and spiritually. I can’t help but be thankful for all the Lord is doing in his life.
Last weekend our church had it’s annual Christmas dinner, where we reach out to the elderly Christians at a retirement community about an hour away. They come every year to enjoy delicious food, sweet fellowship and a little Christmas entertainment. I called my father to see if he was free for the evening and he was indeed available. I’ve invited both of my parents in past years, but it was rare for them to attend due to my mother’s poor health. As I was getting my food together for the evening, I got very emotional. There was no holding it back. As thankful as I was that Daddy was attending with us, it hit me that my mother was… not. Both my sons were performing, something that a few years before would likely not have happened as it wasn’t the coolest thing for a teenager to be caught doing. This year they had willing hearts and wanted to share with others the gifts that God had given to them. I wanted my mother to see it!
Last Christmas I moved into my parent’s home in what turned out to be the beginning of my mother’s final two months on earth. As difficult as it was to watch her decline, she was. still. here. last Christmas. This year… she wouldn’t hear Samuel sing; she wouldn’t hear Andrew play the piano or the flute; she wouldn’t see them wait on those aging saints with willing hearts. But that was more MY problem, not hers. She is exactly where she always wanted to be – at the feet of Jesus. She wasn’t missing out. I was!
Look around you…
Whether your chairs are empty because a child has moved on or because a parent has “moved up,” they don’t have to be empty. Is there a widow, or widower, in your church that will be alone this holiday season? Is there a young couple who can’t make it back to their home for Christmas, who will be missing their own parents? What about that single person who can’t make it home because they couldn’t afford the airfare or couldn’t get enough time off from work? Rather than focus on the emptiness of those chairs, FILL THEM. I ask you, what will you do with your empty chairs this Christmas?