My throat started getting a tickle New Year’s Eve, and by the time the ball dropped I could tell a cold was on its way. Unfortunately, it’s turned out to be a rather nasty virus, keeping me home with a fever, sore throat, and a cough. When it was clear that I wouldn’t be healthy by Sunday, I called my sister to break the news: my family and I wouldn’t make the holiday family get-together at her home in New Hampshire.
Last Sunday, my sister called me. She had a rather nasty virus and had to cancel the family get-together scheduled at her home that day. A lot of extra work comes with a rescheduled or missed event: calls to everyone involved, removing edible gifts that might spoil or get stale from baskets and bags, freezing already prepared entrees and desserts, and moving other things on the calendar to fit a new date in. Fourteen of us did that when my sister got sick. When I got sick, I planned on mailing the gifts I could, and taking a trip up to New Hampshire to bring the ones I couldn’t. The best I could hope for was to see a few of my relatives – work and school schedules resume for everyone tomorrow.
My sister called last night. After texting and calling everyone to let them know I was sick, they all decided to postpone. There won’t be a Christmas tree in the room when we have our Yankee swap, and we’ll call it a game night instead of a holiday celebration. Some presents will be swapped before the new event, and I’ll mail our family Christmas letter to everyone rather than hold onto it for another couple of weeks.
Why not cancel the whole thing and go into 2016 without a twice rescheduled event? At first glance, it looks like a lot of wasted time and effort. It’s probably the prudent thing to do, and certainly the most practical. But this year, we are going home by another road. On this road, saving time and seeking convenience miss the point: Time is where we seek the face of God and neighbor, self and family. That’s worth every detour and delay – and my family knows it.