The Loneliest and Best Christmas Eve

A few Christmas Eve’s ago, our family didn’t know what to do after the Christmas Eve church service. We were far from family and friends and a little lonely. 

Out of the blue, my husband suggested we go out to dinner at a Japanese restaurant for hibachi (where they cook the food at your table). 

When we arrived, another family had just come from a Christmas Eve service at another church in town. They, too, were starting a new and strange tradition of hibachi on Christmas Eve. We had a lovely evening talking to these complete strangers
We laughed at the end of the evening and said, “We’ll see you next year–same time, same place.”
A year passes. 
This year, we go to the same restaurant. We wonder if that family would remember. It seems like a long-shot. As we enter the restaurant, the family stands right there! They were waiting for us after a whole year. In fact, they actually had other plans but remembered our hibachi night. They changed plans in order to find us at the restaurant. 
We didn’t even recall names; we just knew faces. Immediately, however, we reconnect, laugh, share stories of pets and vacations and even favorite Christmas morning breakfast recipes (baked French toast!) We exchange business cards this time. We say it again, “We’ll see you next year–same time, same place.” 
Another family actually joined us this time–complete strangers who wanted to start a strange and wonderful Christmas Eve hibachi tradition. 
Three families now don’t feel alone on Christmas Eve. 
I suppose I’m learning how connected we are to one another. We don’t ever have to feel alone. Complete strangers are waiting to join you for dinner on Christmas Eve.
They’ll be there next year, too. 
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