We spent Christmas day in-between locations.
We left a few days before Christmas to visit Gran and Pops. On the way there, we ran into a bad storm and had to pull off and seek shelter in a brick church. So it was with great relief that after a lovely four days with family, we climbed into the van on Christmas morning and hit the open road with nothing but blue skies in sight.
We made the drive cheerfully. (By the way, I found this audiobook on sale a few weeks ago and it kept my fellas – big and small -riveted. It’s not on sale any more, but if you’ve got a long road trip in the works, it might be worth the moola.) No restaurants were open, so we survived off of granola bars I’d packed and gas station snacks. The kids thought this was fantastic.
When we arrived home, we discovered our outdoor kitty had been accidentally shut in the house all four days of our trip.
There were little kitty paw prints all over my kitchen counter and stove where she tromped through some powdered sugar left behind from our packing.
And the smell…
It took us a good hour to finish our little scavenger hunt for kitty leavings and start the wash on sanitary. I cleaned my kitchen and muttered threats against the cat. I assumed that we would pile up the laundry, scrounge up some supper, and crash for the evening.
But you know how the older you get, the more Christmas feels bittersweet – you feel the absence of loved ones more, the changes from years past stand out, and the longing for Jesus to come back is more real?
I felt all of that, plus the whole day felt stilted and surreal from moving our little tribe’s location on such a sacred day.
So I did what mamas do when we need to make a day feel special: I cooked. I made some cornbread to go with our out-of-the-freezer soup. I made some chocolate whipped cream to add to raspberries so the meal would feel “special.”
We ate out of styrofoam bowls with plastic spoons. The table was covered with candles and Christmas music filled the room with peace. The girls and I put on our “sparkles,” which included several Princess dresses. I swapped out my Uggs for a set of heels but didn’t bother to fix my hair or put on make-up. We just needed something to make us feel fancy.
We finished our Jesse Tree by candlelight and enjoyed our dessert. There was nothing extraordinary about the meal, nothing fussy about the fixings.
But the room took on the warmth of Christmas, the one I had been missing. And I smiled at the faces around our table, the people who are in my corner and on my team. We sang “Joy to the World” and I soaked the moment in, grateful for the chance to count each blessing and listen to each tiny little voice lifted.
And then Finn launched his cornbread and Willa had to go poop -
but the sacred of the moment was not lost.
With some cornbread and candlelight, we’d made a little magic after all – right in between the cat pee and the laundry pile.
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth, with whom His favor rests!”