A Cabbage Patch Kid Christmas
You know when someone says something to you years ago but it never seems to quite leave you? I’m sure I am not alone in this. I can recall, probably around 20 years ago now, someone made an off-hand comment that I reminded them of a Cabbage Patch kid. It was meant as an endearing comment but one that reminded me who I was in an instant.
You remember Cabbage Patch kids, right? Well, some of you will. These hand-stitched, one-of-a-kind, soft fabric dolls were marketed as 'little people' that were to be ‘adopted’ with their very own individual names and birth certificates.
The context of that comment was an invitation to a family’s Christmas dinner. My friend was talking about how excited her family was to have me over for Christmas and relaying how they felt that I was family to them. I was excited, too. They were a special family that would often include me in family events. Actually, over the years, I have spent many a Christmas Day with different families who ‘adopted’ me for the day or a meal. Since my own family was slightly fractured at a young age and thus scattered across Australia, there were always invites by other families. For years, my Christmas Day was frantic, going from one house to another, often having to squeeze in a drop-in. I am hard-pressed to think of a lonely Christmas.
What the Cabbage Patch comment reminded me of was the reality of not having my very own family to spend all day with. Not having the predictability of what Christmas day would look like. Not having family traditions that created memories. Not having my family.
I know there is a great loss in not growing up in a stable family. However, if I can look at it from another perspective, I have had the privilege and honour to sit at the table of numerous families and share different conversations and experiences. I have been the recipient of kindness year after year, and though there is often a twinge of sadness because of a loss, there is increasing encouragement in knowing that I have never been forgotten.
Times of celebration can be an emotional roller-coaster for many; a recent loss of a loved one, a terminal illness that looms over the table, family fractures and distance – just to name a few. But, if you have the great privilege to sit around a table with your family, and truly enjoy it, what a wonderful gift that is to you and those sitting around you. But, if, for whatever reason, there is a twinge of sadness and loss as you approach this Christmas, let the sadness rest on the table and let the new conversations strengthen you as you leave.
This Sunday is Christmas Day. I will be sitting down at our table with my husband and our son. We are not a large family. We are away from extended family and many of those who love us like family. This Christmas I will be reminded, again, that God has not forgotten me and has provided in ways that I could never imagine. This Christmas I will eat with my family.
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