Every year we have gone to church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We’ve also had a special dinner at home on the 25th except for the year we were in Germany. This year plans were made early for niece Kathie and son Max to join us. COVID intervened, as both tested positive. She wrote us that they went to church on line, looked at the gifts in their stockings and celebrated the song, “Go Tell it on the Mountain”. They packed up their lunch, camp chairs, presents, and their porch snowman without arms, and drove to the mountains. There they sat beside a pretend fire ring and celebrated in the warm air (65F/ 18.8C). You know they will remember this Christmas the rest of their lives. I love their indomitable spirit of faith and hope.
A week ago we overheard neighbor Shawn say they would not be with family, so we pressed them to celebrate with us. Our phones had been silenced for church, so we missed the text that they were invited at the last minute to be with their son. She wrote, “I’m so sorry.”
My reply came easily from the heart, “Don’t be sorry since this must be an answer to prayer! We’ll be joyful instead.”
As our pastor taught me, you don’t promise to pray for people, you do it that instant. I wrote a quick prayer and sent it to her. I tell you, this kind of thing makes life much more exciting! You get God in the middle of a situation, and you never know what joy will come your way. We didn’t think Shawn, Bob, and Logan would be eating with us. John, John $pencer, David, and I were hungry, so we decided to go ahead and eat the main part of the meal. If they came later, we would sit with them and chat while they ate. Perfect! They texted they were on their way before the food was cold. We would eat Shawn’s sweet potato casserole and our salad after they joined us.
God doesn’t do things in a stingy manner. Neighbor Joyce called. We knew her dinner guest was having trouble getting here, and Joyce let us know the woman cancelled. Would she join us? Yes! She would! We all sat down together and ate leisurely. We had a full table of the best neighbors in the world.
Son John $ took a video of the flaming Christmas pudding. Most of us tasted it, but everyone had a piece of the delicious pumpkin pie Shawn had made.
Shawn wondered if anyone would be willing to go for a walk. We all knew it was the best thing to do after a heavy meal. John was excused, because he was loading the dishwasher and cleaning the pots and pans. Only Logan had wheels, his scooter, which I think was new to him last year. David expressed interest in trying it, and Logan graciously shared it. I told Logan that was the greatest gift he could have given David. Later David said he was sorry he hadn’t thanked Logan properly before they went home. He was thrilled with his time on the scooter.
Joyce had expected her daughter to spend half a week here, but she tested positive for COVID and couldn’t come. Her new plan was to share Christmas with a friend who would also be alone. As you read, that bombed, too. They did have their festive dinner the following day. Our Christmas was not what any of us thought it would be, but I think it worked out beautifully for everyone. Put God in the director’s seat, and you could be in for a wild and wonderful ride!
Christmas blessings to all of you. Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving all people, especially those who read this post. You sent us Jesus — Emmanuel, God with us. Help us respond to your eternal love and your longing to be in a relationship with us. God, bless us all. Amen.