Travel restrictions, mandates for smaller groups, quarantines, no in-person church – this is the holiday season that wasn’t. But at least we finally have a vaccine now! It just wasn’t quite in time to make Christmas, well, Christmas.
Nothing is the way it has always been for our family this year.
I’m wondering if celebrating Christmas in July, like the Hallmark Channel did last summer will make more sense. At least we can be outside. Maybe by next summer, this will all be a distant dream and the pain will be less sharp. A little like childbirth, you know it hurts but time dims the memory.
This year instead of gathering with lots and lots of people, we quarantined and so did our kids and grandkids. This way at least six of us can be together. Our 35+ family members will stay in their own homes and we won’t see aunties, uncles, cousins, and second cousins.
For this year, it will only be my son, daughter-in-law, and two of our four grandkids, plus three dogs. We’ll be quietly playing games, doing puzzles, and enjoying a simple meal instead of the crazy “hen house” we usually experience.
A year from now, hopefully by the end of 2021, we can have a blow out of a holiday. I have to admit that without Christmas parties, traveling the roads, and gathering together it just doesn’t feel the same.
Last year we were in Oregon and we went to my daughter and son-in-laws’ Christmas Eve church service. It is called Candles and Carols. After prayer, worship, and guest musicians, the best part of the night is when they darken the church to pitch black. Then each person is given a tiny little candle. In the front of the church, the pastor’s grandkids begin to light a candle at the ends of each row. In just a few moments the darkness departs and the church is lit by candlelight, each one of us holding aloft our little tiny candles. Then we all sing Silent Night, a cappella.
This year, her church sent out “Christmas Eve in a box.” My sweet daughter sent a box to her brother where we will spend the night. Each box has a set of candles and a devotion. It won’t be the same, but on Christmas Eve at least we can have the light of Christmas, say a prayer for the new year, and light our little candles.
Next year will be so much sweeter when we can all be together again. Merry Christmas!