I'm thinking today of my friends from elementary school. I could even go up in grades to junior high and high school, and even through my year of theology studies at Aldersgate College. But even more, I can think of the many friends I've made over the last few years in Winnipeg. Of this vast pool of people, a few people have been (and fewer still are) very dear friends. The majority remain friendly acquaintances who I may bump into at summer camp or in a mall or in cyberspace. [I'm thinking of you, Dr. Love!]
Yet even this select few dear friendships are subject to change, and if God ever calls us or them to new venues, the intensity of these friendships will inevitably diminish.
But there is a group of people who always remain in my life - my family. I'm referring especially to my extended family. Every few years I go to a massive family reunion (around 100 people this year) which is named after the patron & patroness of my mom's side, three generations above me. They passed on more than 20 years ago, yet the family that they spawned continues, and with increasing vigor.
To think that the loving actions of those two founders could produce such a lasting legacy! I'm hesitant to start the math required to calculate the exact number of descendants, but to have seeded humanity with 100 people willing enough to enter into Christmas fellowship every three years is a remarkable accomplishment - especially considering how hard it is to form the character of so many people.
So as I wait out these final days of Advent, I'm surrounded with the familial love which resounds from the love of that first Holy Family, and I thank God for that blessing. I especially pray for those people whose families have been shattered and don't know that love - may God break them out of that cycle and introduce them to the fullness of his plan.