The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Christmas in...April?

I found out the other day that all of the episodes of Bones are on netflix instant. This is sort of bad because I am a huge fan of the show and in the last week have watched 8 episodes. Oops? Regardless, today I watched the Christmas episode from the first season. In typical Jeffersonian fashion, the gang gets quarantined in the lab because of a biohazard outbreak from some bones. It just so happens to take place the day before Christmas Eve, so they’re stuck in the lab for Christmas. It’s mostly hilarious and they make each other Secret Santa gifts out of things they find in the lab. But then their families come to see them on Christmas day, but have to stay on the other side of the glass. First, Goodman’s wife and twin 5-year-olds show up; the kids press their faces against the glass. Then Hodgins “kisses” his weird Swedish masseuse girlfriend through the glass. Angela’s weird rock star dad shows up, Booth’s 4-year-old son, and then Zach’s entire extended family. They all speak to each other via Bluetooth headsets [not entirely sure why that’s necessary, but far from the point]. In each scene, those on either side of the glass put their hands on the surface to meet each other’s hands.

The point of the whole episode had been that gifts and decorations don’t make Christmas – family and friends make Christmas. Each group of people just wanted to be in the same room with the ones they loved. Talk, laugh – maybe eat and open presents, but even those activities were far secondary to just existing together.

I cried when Booth put his hand up and Parker followed suit. I lost it when Zach moved across the glass to press his hand against all 12 of his family members’ hands.

That’s my family. I love my family. And in this line of work, I’m particularly familiar with Christmas not being about gifts and decorations. Every Christmas, I spend hours upon hours, days upon days sitting around with my entire extended family. Some years, there 100 of us. I may have mentioned this before.

But, in this line of work, unless I luck out with a call to southern California, I’m not going to be able to be with my family on Christmas. My kids are going to be the ones who don’t know their cousins because we have to be at church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Every year.

I’m not sure what to do with that.

Χριστός ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!

A blessing.