This year we will not be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with any family. While that leaves a sadness, since there is only a 2-week span of time between Thanksgiving and when we will celebrate Christmas this year, it does give us more time to prepare for Christmas.
We usually wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas. But, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around Peaceful Acres right now. Don’t judge me. I need something positive to “dwell on” with missing my family up in here right now.
As we were getting out some of the Christmas decorations, I saw this little tiny tree, which has been in its little box since 1989.
This little 12-inch tree has a story. At our house when my kids were still at home, we spent most of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrating Christmas. Most every night that we weren’t at school basketball games (kids were in high school, hubby was superintendent, I was a teacher, all in the same school district). We celebrated with special snacks, games (the real kind—board games), reading Christmas stories, etc.
So, when our eldest left for college, even though he would be coming “home for Christmas,” I was a bit sad that the month-long “celebration” would not be the same—we would miss him for sure, and he would miss us (?).
Late that fall, I found this little tree, so perfect because it has French horns on it (he played French horn). So, I wanted him to have it for his dorm room, so that he could have some “Christmas” while away from home during the “holiday” stretch.
I never knew if he actually put it out in his dorm room. I kind of doubt it. But that’s okay. I just needed to give it to him. It really didn’t matter whether he put it out in his dorm room or not. Yes, it was mainly for me, I think.
This picture was taken during his freshman year at Southwest Baptist University.
When he came home that summer, I made a note on the box and stored it away.
Today I got it out. Sweet memories tied to that tiny tree...memories of a mom who maybe wasn’t quite ready to let go of her son?
For this season, the tiny tree is going to make me smile, as it sits on my art desk.
But he did come home for Christmas that year, 1988, and every year since then until this year. He lives 32 driving hours away, in Washington state, with his sweet wife, and in the same town with his son and wife and their little baby boy (our great grandson).
They are in ministry together, having planted a church in the Pacific Northwest (Mark, pastor; son Conner, worship leader). Their daughter Tory is serving with the International Mission Board in Mexico and will be coming “home” for Christmas. Her home is her parents’ home, of course. We have a second home there, thankfully, and so we will get to see them for Christmas. But, somehow it’s not the same as their coming “home for Christmas,” as they always have.
So, we will have Christmas in Missouri with our siblings and our daughters’ family all coming (at different times) to our Missouri home. We will have special times. But at our family Christmas with our daughter’s family, there will be 7 of us instead of 13.
Then, on December 18, we will start the drive out to Washington, so that we can see Tory and spend Christmas with our son’s family out there (as they have graciously invited us to join their family Christmas).
I am aware that many families are not together for Christmas, and it may even be unusual for a family with a 49-year old son and 48-year old daughter to be about to spend their first Christmas EVER not being together at Mom and Dad’s for an overnight of “Our Family Christmas.” But somehow that makes it harder, that there have been 49 years of always being together for at least one night during the holidays.
Time brings changes. I can scream and cry and stamp my feet, and I may do some of that. But it doesn’t stop the changes.
So, best that I just be thankful that the reason we can’t all be together is simply geographical distance, and even more thankful that the geographical distance is due to the fact that my son and his wife, their daughter, and their son and daughter-in-law and grandbaby are serving God exactly where He has placed them for now. And even more thanks on top of that, that God has redeemed our daughter’s life, and she and her family are serving God exactly where He has placed them for now.
It just so happens that one area of service is Washington state (and Mexico), and the other area is Missouri.
#FamilyLove #FamilyChristmas #HomeforChristmas #tinyChristmastree #sentimentaljourney