Tuesday, December 26, 2006


In today's world, we create a Christmas dream, a world of peace, joy, family, presents, food and faith. We have popular songs that help create a rosy, warm Christmas expectation. We dream of White Christmas's, Being home for Christmas, Decking the Halls, and Roasting Chestnuts on an open fire. We may wish for a simple Christmas, but then get bogged down in the details.

And, ya know, life just keeps right on going. Last year on Christmas Eve, we spent the morning in the emergency room with Gene. This year he was much healthier, but Evelyn has developed some health issues. The gifts from her are very special this year, because it was so important to her to get them to us . . . . and so very difficult because of her situation right now. Each year, the realities of old age and its eventualities can put a damper on the Christmas spirit in our hearts. Memories of close family members that are no longer with us can bring grief as we listen to Christmas carols on the radio as we do our errands.

Illness has no respect for holidays. My grandfather died right before Christmas, my grandmother had brain surgery one Christmas Eve. And this year we spent Christmas Eve at the vet's office. Our aging dog, Fluffy went downhill very fast. Before we made our run to Amarillo, he was still running over to get his dinner and while thinner than normal appeared relatively healthy. Sunday he chose to sit outside in the rain in his favorite spots, getting wet and chilled. We assumed that he was choosing his spots, especially when we found him in a dry spot near the garage. However, as darkness fell, he disappeared. When we got ready to feed him, he did not come. We found him in the tall grass near the pond, very weak and unable to stand easily. His back legs would no longer support him. We managed to get him to my shower and warmed him up with hot water. A trip to the veterinary emergency room was next. After the medical tests to determine what was causing the problems (and hoping that they would be treatable), the news was grim. We could bring him home for a few days to love on him and say good bye (and avoid having to put him down on Christmas Eve), or we could choose to let him go. He was ill enough that it was time to say goodbye. It would not be fair to him to spend a few more days sick and unable to get around. The vet kindly allowed us time for one last set of petting and hugging and soft words of love. Blessings upon her! And we were given the blessing of being able to say goodbye rather than finding him dead unexpectedly. That would have been MUCH harder!

I wondered how Christmas would be this year. We got to bed around 3 in the morning and woke up late. Fortunately, Christmas would be at Debra's this year. It was going to be in the afternoon. I had time to finish the wrapping that would have been done Christmas Eve. I had time on the porch to eat breakfast and watch the birds. A beautiful bright red cardinal was the special visitor today. My daughter in law came over and we had some time with her . . . a special visit. Even with the grief and late night, Debra and Jonathan cooked a wonderful meal. We opened our packages, watched the Cowboys game, and played with her puppies. And, we found Christmas joy.

One of the miracles of Christmas this year for us, an environment away from our missing canine friend, the special fellowship of time together as a family (our first Christmas with Jonathan), and the new puppy friends (who were oh so ready to be held, cuddled and loved) helped create a very special time for us this year. Yes . . . God is good and Christmas is still special. Thank you, Father!

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