Christmas Presence · 26 December 2009

Christmas is here. And even though all the presents under their tree seemingly point to the contrary, my mom and dad got all the presents they really needed when my sister, the last of their four children, showed up at the airport on Christmas Eve. The gift of presence and a family being together is all they really asked for and it was great that we could all oblige.

I was really looking forward to this Christmas celebration of our Lord’s birthday with my family. It has been over a year since my two brothers, my sister, all of our families, and our parents have been together. Unfortunately, one of the grandkids is missing, but it has been a great celebration with three generations of our family. Celebrating Christmas together in the place where my siblings and I grew up has been great. For after all the gifts were opened and the food devoured, it was the gift of being together that was the most important for all of us.

Even when we were growing up, Christmas day was always about being together rather than being about the presents. At least when looking back. After all, I do not remember very many of the presents that any of us got. Instead, I remember having fun together playing with whatever those presents were and, of course, the boxes that they came in.

As I watched our children play with each other, I remembered how my brothers, sister, and I used to play together with each other and our cousins when we had large family gatherings. We always got along and never fought over toys or argued about anything. Well, we might have fought a little and did not always play nicely. After all, we only thought we were perfect children, but we truly did have fun together. Regardless of how imperfect we may have been, I have lots of memories of family being together having a great time.

The other thing I remember about family gatherings when I was a kid was that we had no outlaws for in-laws. Mom and Dad truly liked each other’s families. And the families all liked each other too. Our generation is also like that. We got what we expected and ended up getting more siblings instead of outlaws for in-laws when we all got married. Every time we have family gatherings and celebrations, we make more memories for ourselves and our children. Which brings me back to this Christmas.

Even though Mom and Dad’s house is big, eighteen people in it is a bit crowded. But Mom and Dad seem to just enjoy all of us being here and nobody minds the cramped quarters. I know our parents have not forgotten all the grief we gave them as kids. We kids do not remember all of the chaos and clamor we caused at family gatherings. All of us just remember the love of a family. We remember the joy that celebrating together always brought. And we all value the togetherness of our family as much as Mom and Dad always have.

Christmas has been a day of celebrating or Lord’s birth and family togetherness for as long as I can remember. I am glad that we could celebrate it this year with three generations together even though we all live far from each other and the place we can still call home. I am glad that we could give our parents the best gift they could ask for – all of our Christmas presence.

© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi

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