So my Christmas is spent in 3 parts: Christmas Eve at church and dinner with my father's family, Christmas Day with my parents, gramma, aunt, and uncle, and finally the day after Christmas is spent with my parents, gramma, aunt, uncle, cousin, and Big Mike. It's sort of a three day celebration, and I look forward to it every year.
Christmas Eve was going to be the same as every year, except on this Christmas Eve we'd be short one guest: my cousin's son Cameron. You see, Cameron joined the USMC and he was going to be spending Christmas in Japan on a military base with a bunch of fellow Marine's.
Now we were sad, but we knew it was something that we had no control over. Korea was going through a bit of turmoil, and frankly Cameron is not some high ranking officer that can just snap his fingers and go home. So my parents and I grabbed our things and headed out to church on Christmas Eve.
My cousin and his sons are very active in their church and it's always a pleasure to see his sons as a part of the Christmas service.
His oldest son is a sort of altar boy (I'm sure there is a better name) and his youngest son was chosen to lead all of the children to the manger scene this year. He got to carry the baby Jesus and place him in the manger. It's a big deal, trust me.
So after church, we all headed to my aunt's house for dinner and as soon as we stepped in the door of the warm house I heard voices yelling at me. You see, I was the first one in the door and I expected to see my uncle, my cousin, and two of her three sons.
Instead I came around the corner and saw my cousin and then my uncle began yelling at me. Being the type that cannot back down from a good yelling match, I just had to yell back. But in doing that I neglected to see that someone had gotten right in my face. I was just about to push this person out of the way when my eyes focused, and I realized that it was him: Cameron.
Cameron was not in Japan.
Cameron had flown home for Christmas.
And none of us brought him so much as a card.
But that didn't even matter, because my mother and I were already in tears and hugging him. Even my dad laughed and got a little misty.
It's a small, but powerful reminder to me about what Christmas is for: it's for celebration of Jesus's birth and it's a reminder to continue giving the love that our God sent to us through his son.
So I share this with you: a few shots of my cousin's son Cameron and his brothers and cousins on Christmas Eve. Keep him in your prayers as he's back in Japan and preparing for another tour of duty on an MEU. (Cameron is the punk in the blue shirt. His brother Jeremy is the punk in the grey shirt. The pip squeek they're playing with was the little boy that took baby Jesus to the manger earlier, Ryan.)