By David Reeves
My journey to France has been a little different than most missionaries. I’m a country boy from Kentucky, who has the honor and privilege of being married to Myriam, who happens to be French. The Bible says when a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing. I can say with certainty that has been so true! She is the best helpmate and partner in ministry, and I am so grateful. Her knowledge of culture, language, and contacts has given us a head start in ministry. For that, we give the Lord thanks.
Marrying into a French family gives me the unique privilege of celebrating Christmas from the perspective of another culture. First, in France a Christmas celebration isn’t just opening presents on Christmas morning. Or, even, a couple hours with your whole family on Christmas Eve. In France, for our family, Christmas is an all-day event!
The Christmas celebration usually starts in the afternoon. However, most years we spend multiple days together. Most of our time centers around good food, time spent laughing, and enjoying everyone being together. Meals come with multiple courses, including seafood (shrimp, crab, langoustine, fish eggs, et.). After the entrées (appetizers), we move on to the main course—usually a special cut of meat with potatoes and veggies. Wait, there’s more! A cheese course follows, then dessert.
The amount of food is one reason the meal takes so long (hours), but (and this is, perhaps, my favorite part) everyone just loves being able to savor the time together in the same place, at the same time. It may be a little loud and crazy at times, but you can’t help but enjoy all the little things. Kids run the halls, playing games and laughing. Across the table, Uncle Silvain and Uncle Marc crack jokes. A little farther down the table, Mamie (grandma) tells Myriam and Lydie about days gone by. Myriam’s mother, Julie, leads the kids in a song of thanks to the Lord.
The book of Revelation tells of a marriage supper that will take place in heaven when God has gathered all His people to Himself. Every generation of the faithful will gather around the table. The French family Christmas is the closest on earth I can imagine to that. Everyone together. No matter what is going on in the world, for a moment, we share peace, love, and laughter. All because a loving God saw fit to send His Son to us.
It’s the same for all of us. As the years pass, we will see empty chairs around our tables. People will move far away or pass away, but thanks to Jesus, that celebration in Heaven is going to be one to remember! Our family looks forward to meeting you there.