It was a beautiful Christmas for us in Tennessee this year. Despite the fact we had day after day of rain and clouds and fog, and irregardless of the lack of the iconic white fluffy snow on the wooded hills around our home… it was a truly wonderful Christmas.
My dad came home just in time for Christmas from a stay at our local hospital for a stroke, my brother and his family dropped everything to come to our house and be there to help. We had not planned for it, but it was unspoken and welcome for them to come and share Christmas. We had a house full of food and joy and happiness on all three levels. Dad wasn’t allowed to do stairs yet, so we all camped out in the walk-out basement where he and mom are settled. We ate our meals downstairs, we watched Christmas TV and movies downstairs and we unwrapped all of our Christmas presents downstairs. Twelve people smashed into a space designed for just two or three.
Funny thing I observed this year… despite the unusual circumstances for this Christmas it didn’t seem crowded inside or cold and grey outside. Everyone was thrilled to be together. My brother brought his three college age kids and Judy his wife along with all of their presents and food and clothes crammed into their baby blue Toyota mini-van and drove the ten-hour trip from Raleigh Durham NC to Nashville at a moments notice.
I heard none of the usual complaints from my kids or theirs at the sudden change in our schedule, no frustrations from any about the limited accommodations which forced some to sleeping on air mattresses and couches once they arrived. No anger at the sharing of bathrooms or limited personal space. EVERYONE was at peace, and not just for a day or two but for eight.
As I pondered this modern-day miracle of Family cooperation and charity… I couldn’t help but feel the hand of God upon our home. The presence of supernatural peace in the midst of what could have been great tragedy with my father’s health. It was if we could all sense the great value of our time together. The precious and irreplaceable nature of a holiday as a family.
We had a fantastic time smushed into mom and dad’s little basement condo this Christmas. No we didn’t go skiing or have a lavish family trip to a picturesque Holiday destination, and no we didn’t eat out much or do all of the new Christmas movies at the local multiplex, but we did play cards and games and eat cheese and crackers and spaghetti and chili prepared by our loving community of faith who in the midst of their own festivities and rushed schedules… made the time to help provide for our un-expected gathering.
It was if nothing that we had planned for our Christmas week even had a chance to occur, but what was given in place of that inconvenience was so much better. God visited our home with the most precious gift of all… Contentment. It was as if God had a solution prepared for each of our challenges before we even knew of the problem.. and it seemed that with each and everyone solution we discovered things turned out better than we had originally planned or hoped for. That in itself is the hope of the Christian’s life, but what was so unique about our Christmas was the understanding in the moment that God was there with us, helping, holding, healing our lives in special and profound little ways that no “perfectly” planed holiday ever could.
So from our home to yours…I hope your family enjoyed as wonderful a Christmas together as we did. I hope all appreciated the time for sharing and giving and receiving as much as we were able to and I pray we can live in that spirit of contentment all throughout the year ahead and pause occasionally to remember how special the time we have together as a family really is and what an honor it is to share what we have with others.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone !