As we rush through the holiday season, there are greetings galore. We gather with family and friends and share a meal, a treat, perhaps even a gift. We spend time together and, hopefully, recognize the rich blessings of sharing life with those we love.
But sometimes the reality strikes in the midst of the greetings that the inevitable parting will too soon be upon us. We love to gather but we hate to say goodbye. That is, we hate to say goodbye to people with whom we truly enjoy spending time.
And the hellos are joyful. But the goodbyes are difficult. It’s always been so, I suppose.
I was reflecting upon an occasion recorded in the book of Acts (chapter 28) when Paul had asked the leaders of the church at Ephesus to come and meet with him. They were very sad because he plainly told them he would not see them again. But he reminded them of the things he had worked so hard to teach them.
On that day, the hello was sweet, but the goodbye was so hard. And so many of our family gatherings and friend-rich occasions will find our hellos full of joy…but perhaps tinged with the sad reality of the inevitable goodbyes.
I think that one of the most wondrous aspects of life in relationship with Jesus is the assurance of forever spent in His presence WITH all of those who know Him. Just think about it…always hello and never goodbye.
But here and now, the truth is that we cannot have the hellos without the goodbyes. But, if we know that forever is sure because of Jesus, then our partings just increase our appetite for that time that is to come.
As you gather with your family and friends this season, enjoy the hellos. And, as you embrace the inevitable goodbyes, would you just make sure that they are really “see-you-laters?”
There really are no hellos without goodbyes…yet.