Baby Steps

As Thanksgiving approaches my emotions do a roller coaster ride again. It’s not so much about Thanksgiving as it is about knowing Christmas is just around the corner and that’s why my emotions are all over the place again.

We have some really good friends who have, for two years now, offered us her parents townhouse in Saint George, UT. Her parents have passed on and she and her siblings decided to keep the house. It is very cozy and welcoming. It feels “right” when we go down there. She told us we were always welcome to stay there whenever we wanted. This Thanksgiving was the second year that we went to stay there. This is a “new normal” for us as we celebrate this holiday.

Our daughter, Rhonda, asked me if we could have a turkey this year with all the fixings. We haven’t done this for two years. So, as we talked about it, I admitted that I missed doing the turkey dinner as well.

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Rhonda came to the house to help make the dinner. Then we packed it all up and took it down to Saint George. We made the turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, two pies and we would take a couple cans of beets. We had fun doing it. I laughed at how I’d forgotten how exhausting cooking a turkey dinner could be. But it got done and early Wednesday morning we took off for Saint George.

The weather was warm and we took our UTV down with us and drove on some of the trails they have there. We were absolutely covered in brown dirt it was so dry. We stopped for a picnic lunch and just got laughing at how ridiculous we looked!

Thanksgiving Day arrived and we sat down to enjoy our dinner. It tasted pretty good. I know my daughter really enjoyed it and appreciated it very much.

Then Rhonda and I got talking about Christmas. We agreed about how much we missed doing all the Christmas activities. Putting up the tree and decorating it as we sang along with Christmas music. I missed that happy, exciting feeling that Christmas always gave me. I missed “celebrating” Christmas all month long as we did activities that made this time of year so special.

Rhonda and I felt that we were ready to take small baby steps to get back into doing activities that would make Christmas a little happier again.

I absolutely know that the real meaning of Christmas is Jesus. During this season of Advent, I love reading Scripture each morning about the story of the first Christmas. The Angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah to tell him, he and his wife Elizabeth would have a child in their old age. This child would prepare the way of the coming Messiah. Then the Angel Gabriel visited the young virgin Mary and gave her the good news. She would give birth to the Savior of the world. I read about Joseph’s reaction to the news about his wife, Mary, and the visitation of the angel in his dream, telling him to go ahead and still marry her. Mary’s trip to visit her cousin Elizabeth. The story of the shepherds in the field when the bright star appeared. The trip Joseph and Mary had to make to Bethlehem and only finding room in a stable, where she gave birth to Jesus.

Still, the Christmas season is one of the hardest for us to get through. I still find it very difficult to go Christmas shopping for my baby niece because I see things I know Tylee and Blake would have loved to have had. I walk through the store in a melancholy mood.

This year, we decided to get a condo near by for the week of Christmas. At least we won’t be home. It’s close enough to where we can get Rhonda to work and yet it is a completely different atmosphere. No memories there, to be a constant reminder of what we don’t have any more!

It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to put up a small tree that would be placed on an end table. However, as I went through a small box of ornaments, I came across ornaments that Russell had made as a small child, an ornament I bought when Tylee was born, and one when Blake was born. I found an ornament that Shawna and Tylee had made and gave to us as a gift.

Pressing forward, I finished decorating and felt pretty happy. We will get through another Christmas season without our loved ones. And still we can say, “His Name will be the hope of all the world.” (Matthew 12:23 NKJV) “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my strength is lifted high… There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God.” (Genesis 49:18 NKJV) And, “But I am trusting You, O Lord, saying, “You are my God. My future is in Your hands.” (Psalm 31:14-15 NLT)