All I Want for Christmas

 

. . . making the most of the time . . . –Ephesians 5:15 RSV

Leftover turkey in the fridge. Blaze orange clothing over backs of chairs. Plastic bins of Christmas decorations in the hall. Has it really been a year since I packed them away? Before I know it, I’ll be packing them up again.

Slow down, time, and let me savor each day as this season unfolds. Let me not get so caught up with lists and just the right gift and programs and housecleaning and baking, that by the time the day comes, I’ll be a bah-humbug.

Do you know what I’ve wanted to do for a long time?

Toss the lists—we have too much already. Closets and drawers overflowing. Food getting moldy in the fridge. Weight and health problems because we have over and above what we need and too many things we really don’t want.

I’d like to give Christmas away. Take all that money I’d spend on gifts that no one really needs and give it to someone who does. I’d like to go Christmas shopping for a family who wouldn’t have a Christmas otherwise. Food, clothes, toys. Pack it in boxes, leave it on their doorstep, ring the doorbell, and then hide and watch the wonder, the surprise, the joy.

But I’m locked in tradition. And I lack the courage to break it.

I can make a start—by telling my family not to get me anything. I’m not being a martyr here. Honest. I have more than enough.

And ask them, instead, for time. Time to enjoy a leisurely meal together. And it doesn’t have to be one someone spent all day in the kitchen preparing. Macaroni and cheese or bought pizza would be just fine. Time to watch a movie together and eat popcorn. Time to sit around the table and talk or play Monopoly or Sorry or Uno Attack. So what if my youngest son tromps me by fifty points every time we play Scrabble?

I want to call Sam and Deb and invite them to, as they so often joked, “come visit the poor folks.”

I don’t want to look back, at the end of my life, and cry, like poor, rich Solomon did, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything was meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

The most meaningful gifts don’t come with a price tag.

Like time. Like sharing. Like love. Like family. After all, when the chips are down, who else do we have? As Robert Frost once wrote, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”*

In the end, it all comes down to choice.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” *

Dear God, give me the courage to take the road less traveled by. Amen.

*“The Death of the Hired Man” and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, by Michele Huey. © 2018. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

 

Welcome to the World, 19 Years Later

Dean, Brent, and me at Brent’s high school graduation, June 1, 2018

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father . . . – James 1:17 NIV

 

Nineteen years ago today, our first grandchild was born. And a new chapter opened up in our lives, a chapter filled with joy and hope and life and wonder.

Today I sit back and remember. . . .

 

July 7, 1999

The sky glowed golden at sunset the day before you were born. A little after three in the morning, your Aunt Jaime announced from the bedroom doorway, “The baby’s on its way! The baby’s on its way!” When I called the hospital four hours later, your mommy told me you had arrived.

Brent Michael Huey. Our first grandchild. Seven pounds, six ounces of pure joy. I’d forgotten. Life has a way of throwing enough curve balls that we forget what it’s really all about. I’d built a wall around my heart to shut out the disappointments, grief, frustrations – and all the pain living in this world brings.

But that wall also shut out the joy and the love. Oh, I smiled and said I was doing good, even great, when people asked me how I was. But in reality, deep down inside, I felt little emotion.

When I knew you were here, Brent, that old wall just crumbled. Just your name is enough to bring tears of joy. But, oh, when I saw you! When I held you for the first time, you never even woke up for the whole hour and a half. As you slept soundly, I gently rocked you in my lap, one hand supporting your floppy little neck and the other beneath the blanketed bundle of you.

As I watched all those little baby faces you made, I dreamed of sitting in the rocker with you on my lap and reading to you; of walking with your little hand in mine and showing you all the wonders of God’s creation – a rainbow, a sunset, a snowflake; of feeling your little arms around my neck and inhaling your sweet baby smell. The Big Dipper isn’t big enough to contain the love I feel when I look at you!

Maybe that’s why God painted the sky golden the evening before you entered my world – to remind me where life’s treasures really are – and they aren’t in how well I write, how much money I have in the bank, how many awards I’ve collected, how clean my house is, or how little I weigh.

Life, my little grandson, is loving and giving and caring and sharing – and stopping by the roadside to enjoy a golden sunset.

Welcome to the world, Baby Huey. . . .

 

July 7, 2018

Today, Brent, we celebrate your birthday and tomorrow your high school graduation.

Oh, the young man you’ve become!

Over the years, Grandpa and I have been blessed to sit at countless baseball games, watch in pride and wonder as, in your senior year, you played varsity football. You’d decided to go out for football only a few months before the season started, yet you worked hard – and was elected one of the team’s captains. And then when the season was over, you signed a letter of intent to play college football.

We are so proud of you.

We’ve prayed you through illness and injury, fevers and broken bones, and when life’s path took directions you hadn’t planned or wanted.

Yet look at you. You’re smart, kind, compassionate, generous, caring, giving, hard working . . . and, no, I’m not partial at all.

Never stop dreaming, Brent-o. Never stop going after those dreams. For God has placed them in your heart. And He will give you the strength and endurance, patience and persistence, to achieve them.

Today the road of life stretches before you. Step with confidence and faith. Believe in the person God is making you to be.

Grandpa and I will be cheering you on, praying for you, loving you as always.

Welcome to the world, Brent Michael Huey. Oh, the places you’ll go!

 

Thank you, God, for this grandson – bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh – who reawakened love and joy in my life-beaten heart when he was born and has continued to do so to this day. Bless him and guide him as he follows the path You have laid out for him. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 139:13-18.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.