Home For Christmas

Christmas 2020…

Over the river and through the woods to NOBODY’S house we go—Huh? The holidays are here. That means everyone wants to go somewhere. Grandma and Grandpa’s tiny city apartment, Sissy’s country house, or Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Bob’s dessert room and Pennsylvanian “castle” beckon us. Anywhere will do—as long as there’s snow. The problem? This ridiculous, a-hem…historical, distinctive year…is not over yet. We’re encouraged to keep our germs to ourselves; Stay home. Preferably alone. The rebel in me lashes out with something like: “Are they kidding me? Roll me up in a plastic wrap. I need to see my babies.” Memories of our four grandchildren, their cozy hugs and innocent smiles, invade my dreams—priceless moments to cherish—especially when everyone came home for Christmas.

Where the love light gleams…

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.

Winston Churchill

Home

I envision our home bursting at the seams with kids and dogs running amuck. Snow-covered mountains add to the ideal scene. Children listen to the age-old story huddled beside the tree. Laughter, song, and the intoxicating scent of Nanny’s Christmas cookies fill the air. All eyes bright and gazing as logs crackle and embers glow in the fireplace.

No matter what we faced throughout the year, we could always count on celebrating holidays together. Although 2020’s Covid-19 dilemma and the fate of future gatherings grips a fearful world, there’s no need to beg for an ear. The true meaning of Christmas remains the same and rings ever clearer this year. It’s time to remember and share the gift of hope. Whether it be via Zoom, Google Meet, or Facetime—the essence of the message will never change. We’re not alone. Christmas, or any other day of the year, God is with us.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).

Matthew 1:23 NIV
God led them with a star-lit sky.

Away in a manger

Alone and unsure of the future, the newlywed couple awaited the birth of Jesus, God’s Son, in a lowly manger. The company of livestock and unseen angels stood in place of family and friends. When I think about their reality and the raw truth of the story, a different perspective of my present loneliness calms my soul.

While I miss my sons and grandchildren, I imagine how Mary and Joseph’s weariness and emptiness of going it alone through such unforeseen circumstances could have taken its toll. Instead, their season of solitude brought forth peace, joy, contentment, and deeper love. I’m thankful for their example as we make the most of celebrating Christmas 2020 minus the parties, crowded festivals, or lavish (wasteful) feasts. Wow. Home for Christmas has taken on new meaning this unusual holiday season. We’re forced into quiet mode—whether we like it or not.

It came upon the midnight clear…

Where the heart is

If home truly is where the heart is, suddenly, merry and bright have a deeper meaning too. Maybe it’s rooted in the mysterious way the first Christmas and the birth of Jesus, the King of Kings, began with a fear that gave way to faith. Pain and the darkest of nights gave way to peace and amazing light. God lit the sky that night. He alone made the way for them. I believe he can do the same for me, you, and all who ask for miracles.

Many of us have faced tragedies head-on this year. As if buried by a sudden avalanche, the brokenhearted gasp for breath to mourn and pray. Finding Christmas cheer is like looking for something long lost, or a million miles away. I stand with them now in prayer: God, please fill our empty homes with hope for tomorrow. In sickness or health. Sadness or joy. Jesus is the reason I celebrate life. Emmanuel. God with us.

Oh Holy Night…

God lit the way with starry light that dark, first Christmas night.

Everyone is home

Forget the die-hard homebodies. I mean, EVERYONE is home: Men and women who wouldn’t leave the office for anything or anyone—Home. Workaholic fathers. Stressed-out mothers. Over-tired children…and everyone in-between. If we’re honest we might admit we see some uncounted blessings in this pandemic curse.

We’ve slowed down to a crawl. We take the time to go for strolls in the rain or snow and even say hello to unneighborly neighbors while we walk our dogs. Cooking and eating meals together might become a welcomed trend. Could this be the water on the lit fuse we prayed for? When I consider the phrases from songs that bring tears and smiles at Christmas, a common thread remains. Happiness, love, and joy are born out of living and believing.

Let the weary world rejoice…

Home for the holidays? If only in my dreams…

No matter what good has come from several months of solitude, most of us are praying for an end to this pandemic. People of all faiths agree: While we’re thankful for the time together, we miss the rush and bustle of living, giving, sharing, and caring.

Please, God, hear our prayer…

This year my heart’s desire and #1 Christmas wish are the same: We’ll all be home (safe and healthy) for Christmas—If only in my dreams.

The holiday table is set.

Dear friends,

Do you recall fond or funny home for Christmas memories? No doubt, some of the most dreaded may have become more treasured just because they were spent surrounded by loved ones. I pray we try to savor these quiet moments without fear and reflect on a few hidden blessings of the last several months. How are you celebrating this odd year? Will you be home for the holidays?

I’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget to join the conversation in the Inspire A Fire comment section below this story. You can read a few more of my seasonal stories here. And yes, please share them with friends and family during this trying time.

Stop by http://joannclaypoole.com or my Dreamdove’s Flights of Fancy blog here, or look for me on FB, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter for more stories, quotes, and the ordinary la, la, la. Thanks for keeping me and Dennis in your prayers. He’s doing great and now recovering from intricate wrist surgery (ouch). Blessings are everywhere. All we have to do is keep our eyes (and ears) open. Wishing you joy, peace, health, and happiness. This Christmas, and always.

Joann

Special thanks to Pixabay for use of all FREE images: Feature image by JillWellington. G1: TL image by StockSnap, TC image by pasja1000, TR image by 6979608, Bottom Lg image by JillWellington. Lg single image by mskathrynne. G2: TL image by falco, TC image by 1041483, TR image by 1866946, Bottom Lg image by pasja 1000. Lg single image by EvgeniT. G3: TL image by Jill Wellington, TC image by Anrita 1705, TR image by MabelAmber, Bottom Lg single image by milivigerova. Last Lg. single image by artfullframes.       

Joann Claypoole

Joann Claypoole is an author, speaker, and former spa-girl entrepreneur. She's a wife, mother of four sons, “Numi” to four grandchildren, doggie-mom of two. The award-winning author of The Gardener’s Helper’s (ages 5-9 MJ Publishing2015) would rather be writing, hiking in the mountains, or inviting deer and other wildlife to stay for dinner near her western NC writing retreat. Visit her website: joannclaypoole.com and WordPress blog: https://joannclaypoole.wordpress.com/

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4 comments

  1. That is a fantastic tale of our dilemma
    And a great vision of what is to come
    We’ve missed so much

    1. Thanks for the reassurance, Bonnie. Unfortunately, the dilemma is related
      to the Grinch that tried to steal Christmas. We might have to tickle covid’s belly and move on—I’m thankful for our great memories and for all the stories to come. 😬

  2. Your storytelling has a way of making me feel cozy, calm and peaceful. Such imagery!
    Yes, Christmas is turning out a little different this year. Glad we can still celebrate the reason for the season!

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