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Christmas without the normal spiritual journey
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By David Conde

It is said that that birth is a welcomed event for the living to find regeneration. In this sense, our parents are us and we are our children.

For that moment to be relived, our families must come together to celebrate its significance. Jesus, as poor as his family was, found humble companionship in his parents in that stable in Bethlehem.

However, the Christmas story is not complete without the extended family and community put together by the power of God. The variety of animals, their keepers and the delegation of angels brought splendor to the moment that concluded one journey and began another of divine grace and redemption.

In a sense, that is what will be missing this Christmas. For many families, being together with parents and relatives in this magical moment in the journey of regeneration may not be possible.

We must rely on our collective memory and spiritual will to find solace and connection that keeps our redemptive journey alive. After all, Christmas is a common spiritual journey that connects everyone.

My earliest memory of the Christmas story is actually not mine, but that of my mother. After a hard day in the fields, people use to sit around a table telling stories that included momĺs version of a church Christmas play that featured her oldest brother Benito as King Herod.

Those that know the story also know of King Herodĺs anxiety about being replaced by the new-born Jesus and his instructions to the Three Magi Kings to let him know where the baby was located in order to have him killed. As it turned out, the Magi Kings never returned and that made Herod desperate.

In telling the story, mom would reenact Benitoĺs stomping on the floor to make the point of desperation. It was so funny and hilarious.

The church Christmas plays I attended and participated in were numerous. The events would start on the 24th in the evening with a church service followed by the exchange of presents and the distribution of goodies among family and members of the congregation.

Then the plays would start and last most of the night. The intermissions were special moments of music and conversation about the biblical scenes and their relevance to a new time and thought.

Although the plays and reenactments are unique examples of coming together for the Christmas story and journey, being with family and friends is not. That is the part that will be missing in many of the homes and communities because of the pandemic.

The modern world of work has come up with the use of communication media technology to substitute for in-person meetings. Working from home and conducting sessions on electronic network systems has become, for many, the way to conduct business.

This new way of bringing people together is also becoming part of how families meet and do things together. I have been privy to this approach for sometime as that is the way military families communicate with their loved ones at war and even in the battlefield.

But this is a long way from fulfilling the spiritual journey that is the family Christmas story. The give and take of togetherness has a unique characteristic that cannot be duplicated by artificial means.

At the same time, it is important that we do without togetherness this time around as we sacrifice in order to create the opportunity for future gatherings. We do this for all, but especially for elderly members. Have a Merry Christmas!





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