Few families live in close proximity in America any more. In many other countries, the culture is still like America used to be – families and extended families are close enough to help out with many different aspects of family life. In America, that advantage has pretty much ceased to exist.
Think of the difference it has made in our society because most families do not live close to one another. Before, childcare was not an issue because grandparents or aunts and uncles lived down the street or in some cases in the same house. The sting of unemployment was relieved somewhat because family members shared what they had with each other. Planning for retirement meant moving from the downstairs portion of the house to the upstairs portion of the house so that the family members with small children had the larger living area. Traveling long distances for holidays was unknown because it was not necessary.
Rural living has largely been replaced by dwelling in large concrete cities. Instead of face-to-face conversations with family, friends and neighbors, people communicate by email and texting – often with their eyes glued to a small screen in their hand instead of a face of flesh before them.
My family is spread out all over the world. That is the way it is. I continue to long for the closeness of a loved one, catching a smile unnoticed or observing a loved one in a moment of time that cannot be captured by camera or video.
Since this is a present reality, I am thankful for gifts of modern technology that remind me of the personal touch of yesterday. I was able to experience this on an American holiday – even though my husband and I were home alone. Since my immediate family has a similar free internet service that enables us to call each other using microphones on our computers and see each other utilizing webcams, we were able to talk for several hours to family members – first with one son who was out of the country and then with our other son and his family while we were all preparing our meals. It was not exactly the same as having family come home for the holidays, but on that day, it was as close as we could get.
I am grateful as a child of God, I don’t have to wait for a phone call or a visit to be able to talk to Him. I don’t have to check a world clock for the time difference between where He is and where I am. I don’t have to worry about whether He is busy or He can’t answer my call. I can speak to Him at any time and He will hear me. His Spirit, who abides in me, can communicate immediately with me. He is always near and available, ready and delighted to hear from one of His children.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our abode with him (John 14:23). By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit (1 John 4:13 NASB).