My early Christmases were spent at the large two story home that my father had built over fifty years before as home for my grandmother as a new bride. There was plenty of space for five daughters and son and all the spouses and at least a dozen children for breakfast. No one could do anything until breakfast was eaten together and the dishes all washed except look at the beautifully lit tree, We’d first seen the tree that morning as the adults decorated late Christmas eve. After dishes we opened presents and then my mother would gather us to leave for church. I’d put on a red choir robe for the junior children’s choir. The organ would play out the joyous music as the bells in the tower rang and we began the processional singing down the aisle.
It is such fun to see the joyous anticipation of children at this time of year. At a department store in Minneapolis while in High School— two Christmas seasons! It was especially fun when I got to help the elves make handmade candy canes that were given out by Santa Claus! Cleaning up the orange soda that was stuck everywhere from the tikes dropping them wasn’t as such fun, but it was so neat to see people thoughtfully buying gifts for the children in their lives!
After meeting my husband the week of high school graduation at seventeen, we were busy driving from Minneapolis to Bayfield, Wisconsin each Christmas Eve. After time with my family we drove 300 miles to Dan’s family on the shores of Lake Superior for Christmas morning. Usually there was a blizzard. It was always beautiful and we loved the snow. The years went by and we added pur little ones, and they kept growing up fast.
As they years went by I’d usually have first five or six and then ten or more children every day for daycare. We’d make something new, ornaments, gifts, wrapping paper and cards; projects of artwork and stories, songs and games each day in December.. That was always fun!
But sometimes this isn’t such a happy time of year. There was 1976, when my mother was in the hospital, mostly unconscious from before Thanksgiving to New Years eve.. We were grateful for the years the Lord had given us with her as she was expected to leave us six months after the diagnosis/ Instead, by the Lord’s mercy, was able to be present for four grandchildren thirteen years later.
I remember in 1990, crying for months solid. It is unbelievable how much tears a person has capacity to shed. Anytime “I’ll be home for Christmas” was sung or another program suggested families all being together, would bring on another cloudburst since our oldest son, Michael, had gone home to be with the Lord October 26th that year.
Even when it isn’t a time of great grief or sorrow this time of year it just seems like there should be gatherings of friends and family, When that isn’t possible, missing them is hard. So sometimes this time of year isn’t the joy and excitement as it is at other stages of life. Pray for the opportunity to help other’s for whom Christmas will be lonely or sad or very difficult this year. Pray that you’ll forgive any enemies you need to forgive. Pray that the Lord will use you to bring a Christmas peace nd joy to their life.