Preparing for Christmas

The folks at Crossway asked me to do a guest blog on how we prepare for Christmas. That got me to remembering Christmas past of course. Our second was in Baguio Philippines with a 8 month old. I thought riding my motor cycle into the mountains would be an adventure. It was exhausting! I simply refused to talk to the policeman who stopped me on the main street of Baguio, pointing him the van where Sherry was riding with David and Patty Jo Yount. Turned out it was illegal for motorcyles to be on the street, but I was in no shape to talk coherently to him or anyone else. After we returned to the states, we most often went to Albuquerque to spend time with family. Then there were the overseas Christmas times with our time in Taiwan a great highlight. Our home has often been a center, but no so much now. We usually travel to be with our children.

Here’s the blog post:

Sherry and I are empty nesters and happy grandparents, so we no longer do the big family meal at our house. Our daughter, Cyndee, will come from one side of Oregon and we’ll travel to the other side to David and Samantha’s home to hang with Nicole (10) and Joy (8), two of our grandgirls. We’ll Skype Donn, Susan and Elizabeth (3) and share our distributed Christmas. I’m glad Jesus is Lord of the universe, but I sure wish our family were all living within a couple of blocks of our house.

A highpoint of preparation is when we take Nicole (10) and Joy (8) shopping. They direct us to their favorite stores and we prowl the aisles looking for the most delightful gifts possible (There is a budget . . . but it’s grandfatherly!). The joyful thing is that the presents aren’t for Nicole and Joy, but for two girls from poverty stricken homes who will come to the big neighborhood Christmas party at our church. They donate some of their favorite gently used clothes and write notes of care to go with them. Hearing their giggles as they imagine the impact of their love given to complete strangers makes me laugh out loud. How like the LORD who comes to us in Advent.

The youngest reader always reads the Christmas story from Luke 2 before anyone opens presents. It’s important to be prepared so the wiggles of anticipation don’t turn into frustrations! Since Joy reads super well, the struggle to recognize words has become theological discussion of the meaning of the beloved text.

The pictures are from Christmas 1972 (I think): Donn with Grandpa Veazey, David and his wonderful digger (arms are from Grandma Veazey), and then playing with Sherry (who is having more fun?) Sherry with something – too bad a wrong speed setting for the flash meant the bottom of the picture was cut off.