A few days before Thanksgiving, I opened the closet in the study where much of our Christmas decorations are stored and began setting out boxes. At ground level of our front deck, I ducked my head, walked under, opened a storage door and pulled out a couple of boxes that hold outdoor lights. Never before Thanksgiving had I festooned our home for Christmas. This was a first–a glorious first. I reasoned (in case someone would complain, which they did not) that last year because of my cancer surgery, my Christmas celebration had been limited. I’d make up for it this year.
What a season it has been.
Rebecca brought up a lighted bare-limbed tree and felt leaves on which each of us could write down one blessing, and at the table before the sumptuous Thanksgiving meal, we read aloud our thanks. (Imperial Sir Winston knows he is a major treasure in our lives, and thus positioned himself.)
The weather described perfect winter holidays. Cold, foggy and snowy. Some of us piled into our trusty Jeep and drove the mile or so down to the lake, where Andrew and I braved the cold and ice to take pictures.
A soup so great that at the end my guests were tipping the huge crockpot to scoop out one more bowl was central to the food we served at our “almost annual” neighborhood party the first Saturday of December. Twenty-six relatives and other friends graced our home.
Among them was this gorgeous baby boy who resides with our new neighbors who live just around the corner on the street that leads to the woods.
Mrs. Claus dropped by, as did the “real” Santa, another new neighbor, but I didn’t get a good picture of him. You know how sneaky Santa can be sometimes
And . . .wonder of wonders . . .for a few hours before Christmas Day was done, each of my children was here in our home.
Before we opened our gifts that Sunday morning, our patriarch led us in a simple time of worship. He wept as he spoke of the love of God, and for the love of his family. Each of us, except the very youngest, told words of love and blessing. Jerry asked Nate to read from Luke the story of the nativity.
The gifts were distributed by a very skinny Santa. Gentry is 6’3 and almost 19 years old. These are his legs.
Our gifts to each other were simple, for we are a simple family, and are old enough and wise enough to understand value and deep joy lie in places other than within the contents of beautiful boxes tied up with elaborate bows.
Even a couple of greats showed up with their dad, Chris, and because we were out of beds, they joined the others who had stretched out camp bags and quilts, or snagged a couch for sleeping on Christmas night.
Winston (and us) was blessed to have four of his dog cousins join us for the holidays. He liked some of them; others, sadly, he did not. You’re seeing Charley here, who lives with Andrew and his clan in San Diego.
During all the holidays, no one had won a game of checkers against Cole. He is the family champ. On the day before they were to leave after Christmas, he challenged me to a game. He had beaten me badly during their Thanksgiving visit. Embarrassing, and I had escaped him . . .until now. Guess what! I beat the little rascal . . . whipped the socks off him. He grinned, and said, “Want to play another one, Granny?”
You must be kidding, I thought. “Nope, I think not,” I very wisely said.
The deed is done. The 2016 holiday season is finished, and we have moved seamlessly into the year of our Lord Twenty Seventeen. None of us know what the days ahead hold. Both joy and sorrow will visit us; success and failure; good days and bad ones; laughter and wretched tears. For us, the extended Gerald Buxton family, we put our trust, our confidence, and our faith in God, in Jesus Christ, the righteous
Blessings to you and yours.