There are obviously many ways that Christmas has looked different for our family this year. We feel very fortunate to have our girls – little kids bring a certain magic to the Christmas holidays and have kept us focused on celebratory things.
One (non-COVID difference) for us this year was getting to look forward to having both Peter and Pearl home for the winter break. It has been lovely to be together and cozy at home.
We’ve baked and played and dressed up and read books and worn our pyjamas all day. Snow isn’t very common around here at this time of year but we have been able to head up into the mountains nearby to find some snow to play in.
Last year on Christmas Eve, Peter was home sick with Rose while I worked a busy shift. I remember rushing to the grocery store before it closed and buying the last three cinnamon buns for us to eat Christmas morning. This year, with nowhere to be, we made homemade cinnamon buns. In a more optimistic time, a few weeks ago, I had made a ferry reservation, hoping we would be able to head to Vancouver to see my family. Instead we drove to Halfmoon Bay and walked along the pier and showed the girls where we used to live and snacked on confetti squares and hot chocolate.
With church buildings closed, we attended Christmas Eve service on-line. We opted for a 7:30 service which might as well have been midnight for our kids, but they did enjoy our cheese and cracker dinner and new, matching pyjamas.
And, of course, Christmas morning was as exciting as it can be with a five-year-old and a three-year-old!
We were extra fortunate this year that we were able to have Peter’s parents over on Christmas Day. Because they live close by and because they provide regular childcare for us, getting together with them was permitted under current regulations. Since everything was already different and our celebrations would be much smaller, Peter and I offered to host Christmas dinner. This meant cooking a turkey dinner for the first time.
I realize this is something plenty of people my age have done but it still felt like a big undertaking. I did quite a bit of reading, recipe researching, and polling of friends. In the end, it was actually quite doable and we were very pleased with the result. Peter and I agreed that we would do it again, though our biggest barrier to hosting a larger Christmas gathering is probably space. (I did have to borrow a roasting pan from my mother-in-law!)
A famous line from an old song has been repeating in my head this season:
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
It is a weary world indeed that we live in right now. Yet there is a lot of hope around us. There are many practical reasons to hope that 2021 will be better. Even better, as Christians, we place our hope in something greater than the things of this world. We celebrate our hope in Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. He entered our weary world and a thrill of hope was felt, is still being felt.
I hope that whatever this season has held for you, there has been some joy and that you may experience that thrill of hope. Happy Holidays!