My family has had an interesting Christmas. My parents are more or less unemployed, so it was meant to be small and simple. Well, it has been almost anything but small and simple.
Joshua and Amanda arrived last Saturday night, amid a chaotic wave of travel as people struggled to find their way to the East Coast, awash in unusual amounts of snow. There were plans re-routed and connections missed. People, I’m sure, were upset, stressed and filled with something a little less than holiday cheer. Amanda and Joshua, however, were traveling west and they made it here quite smoothly. Unfortunately, their luggage didn’t come nearly as well. A few hours later, the suitcases full of diapers, pajamas and Christmas presents finally arrived.
But Joshua had brought something else with him from the airplane, or from Mississippi. Pneumonia set in soon after we went Christmas shopping for last minute gifts. He was laid out flat on the couch for several days, coughing into a tarnished silver trashcan and pretty much quarantined from his son and the rest of us. We juggled rooms so he’d be alone and away from the wide eyed five month old. I got to experience my first night with a gurgling baby in the crib next to the bed I shared with Amanda.
And the next day I came home from work after an hour long commute with the heater on full blast–shaking with chills and coughing up my lungs. Apparently I didn’t avoid Joshua well enough. By dinner my mum was feeling feverish and we were both in bed by nine pm. I called in sick for work the next day, drove in the blowing snow to the doctor’s office and after a very merry conversation with a doctor I have seen too often this year, we were given a diagnosis for the painful cough that was tearing my throat and giving me abs of steel. Bronchitis!
Today we opened presents with a happy and bright eyed baby boy who can’t get over all the sights and smells. My dad chopped wood so we could have a fire; the wonderful snow outside looked beautiful but we were determined to stay warm and have a cozy Christmas morning with my mum’s traditional cinnamon rolls. After Isaac went down for his nap, and we had finished opening our presents, my dad went out to chop some more wood. While my mum and I were in the kitchen rubbing down our massive turkey bird, my dad came in the garage and yelped for his wife.
“I hurt myself.” he said. And that was an understatement.
He’s home now from the hospital after smahsing two of his fingers, crushing a bone and severing a good deal of skin. His middle finger is splinted so it looks like he’s flipping off the world. The fire is still going, the turkey is in the oven, my mum is napping after an exciting week and we’re watching a movie that was a Christmas present.
So it hasn’t been the smoothest, simplest Christmas we’ve ever had. But then again, Christmas in my family is usually interesting. There’s the year we broke into the Shuck’s house after Dad left his wallet on the fridge. Or the time we drove over the Rocky Mountains in a car that my dad didn’t fit into. Or the year I got chicken pox and didn’t crust over till New Year’s Day.
That all probably sounds sad or somehow like a disappointing Christmas. But actually, I think it’s one of the best Christmases ever. My beautiful nephew is here, he rolled over from his back to his tummy today for the first time! There is snow on the ground and it’s one of the prettiest Christmases I’ve ever seen. God has shown up in all sorts of unexpected places. I got a zester for Christmas! A zester!! My sister in law and I have had some good conversations, my brother seems okay with the fact that I no longer have a life plan, and we’re along getting along suberbly–I guess that means I’m growing up becuase I’m not a punky little sister anymore. 🙂
And the only thing that worries me is that suddenly I have a few too many optoins for my future.
So Joy to the World, Jesus is come to make even the most messy and pagan of holidays lovely and holy.