When after Thanksgiving we left Crestline, I had the intention of returning there for a few days before our children and grandchildren arrive for Christmas, so as to decorate, restock the cupboards, and in general set things in order for this next avalanche of holiday celebration. Didn’t happen, and here we are ready to drive over tomorrow after church, with Andrew and his bunch arriving the same night, and the rest piling in during the next few days. Nothing is ready!
No lights are strung on the bushes and the trees outside, nor on the front deck railing; no electric candles are in the windows, no baby Jesus is in His manger, no beautiful ornaments are scattered about, and not even a Santa is dancing. (Actually, I can’t guarantee that statement about Santa, for given his nature, he may be kicking around trying to push from his flimsy box at this very moment.)
A couple of nods to Christmas decorating have been noted: At Thanksgiving, Andrew and Jerry took down the fountain from the stair wall, and replaced it with a huge green wreath, strung with tiny white lights. With the flick of a switch, I will set it to blazing Sunday evening. On Thanksgiving day after the big meal, I stored my “fall” set of dishes, and brought out the 20 or so solid red plates I own, and the fine set of gaily decorated desert dishes and cups that I bought years ago when Buffums went out of business.
Sunday evening, I may (or may not) tear into the closet that holds most of the Christmas decorations, and, here and there, string up a few things–glittery garland laid atop the dining room bookshelves, lighted star-globes in the game room window upstairs, gold-foiled candles in the bathrooms, a snowman or two set about, and if I’m into all this, I’ll no doubt take Santa from his box, stick in the batteries, turn the switch and let him get on with his music. (Jerry gets so sick of the grandkids doing this that sometimes he takes Santa from their reach and gives him (and him) a rest!)
Then again, I may do none of this, for I’m of the thought that at the Buxton house in Crestline we are quite capable of having a joyous Christmas with little of the usual trappings. For one thing I know that whether or not I scrounge up a plastic manger with a baby in it, Jesus will be there. The real Jesus. The Saviour of the world. My Redeemer.
The spirit of Christmas will be there. My family will be there, and we’ll yelp and quarrel and pray and maybe sing a little and play music and pound the piano and give cooking lessons and eat and play Balderdash, and give and receive modest presents, and go again to the store for more cereal and more bread and more milk. The house will be a wreck, the washer and dryer will run practically non-stop, and of a certainty, about the time we finish up dishes from the last meal, a hungry mouth or two will appear in the kitchen.
There is snow outside, so we will pull out all the gloves, hats and mittens we own. From the basement (if we can get the door open) we’ll carry up boots that range from tiny to large, and the youngsters will scurry about trying to find a pair that fits. We’ll discuss the jackets, remarking that the one Brady now wears used to belong to Nathaniel, who at this point wears size 11 shoes and men’s large as far as shirts are concerned.
So, don’t worry about us if you chance by and observe a lack of Christmas decorations. I think we’ll do just fine.