My family’s holiday season is not going as planned. About two weeks ago, my dad had to go into the hospital, and what we hoped would be a quick stay dragged into a much longer one. The weeks that my parents would typically spend putting up a Christmas tree, stringing lights on the evergreens in the front yard, and preparing for the holiday onslaught of visiting grandchildren were spent instead waiting for test results, consulting with doctors, and walking the hospital halls.
Thankfully, the hospital released my dad the day before Christmas Eve, and our family has gathered as planned at my parents’ home. The tree was decorated by a committee of grandchildren who don’t quite have my mom’s eye for ornament placement. We had a wonderful family dinner last night – carry-out from our favorite local pizza place. We don’t have a plan for keeping the grandchildren busy and out of trouble for the next two weeks of vacation, but they are pitching in to help around the house and are trying to be mindful of their grandpa’s need to rest. We’re all working hard to take things as they come with patience and grace.
The events of this Christmas have reminded my family that, even though we try to plan and prepare, life doesn’t always conform to our schedule. We are setting our expectations of a picture-perfect Christmas to the side, and we’re taking a minute to be thankful that we have the opportunity to be together under one roof (and not crammed into a hospital room).
I hope that, whatever your family’s traditions are, you have the opportunity to enjoy time with your loved ones in the next few weeks and to appreciate what you have, even if it’s not picture-perfect.