When I was growing up, we had a neighbor, known to us children as, “Uncle Fred.” He wasn’t related in the usual ways – marriage or biology; however, he was truly our “uncle” relationally.
It was a given that Uncle Fred would spend holidays with us; he never had to wonder about that. One of us simply went over to his house to confirm the time of his arrival.
Once we were old enough, each of us would get him a Christmas present. When he came for dinner that day, he would sit to open them: He carefully took off the ribbons, picked the tape until it let go, folded the paper, read the card…and at last, got to the gift. I don’t know that I have ever met anyone who savored these moments quite like he did.
He brought presents, too: A dozen eggs his chickens had laid or something he had grown in his garden. Once in a while he would surprise one of us with a treasured item, such as a basket or some lovely ornament that had been his for many years.
I think Uncle Fred was at least as much of a blessing to us as we were to him. That is how neighbors and extended family ought to be.
Is there someone you would like to adopt into your family this year? Everybody needs an Uncle Fred.