Nobody loves Christmas more than I do.
That sounds like a pretty bold statement, even to my ears. But, in my opinion, nobody loves Christmas more than I do.
That still sounds arrogant, so I’ll quantify the statement a little more. In my immediate family, nobody loves Christmas more than I do. That’s better.
For me, the anticipation of Christmas starts the day after Halloween, then builds in the month of November as Thanksgiving approaches. Then, my birthday at the beginning of December signifies that the real celebration has begun. Heck, the entire month of December is a celebration of Christmas for me. And when it’s all over, the anticipation of next year’s celebration begins.
Because of this great love of all things Christmas, a knock down, drag out battle with Covid wasn’t a part of my plan. Getting sick was the very least of my concerns. Maybe it should’ve been at the top of my concerns, but it wasn’t. Didn’t even make the list.
The list began back in September with the start of the remodel of our upstairs guest bathroom. We had been informed that my son’s fiancé's parents…my soon to be in-laws, would be making a trip cross country, from Florida to California to spend Christmas with the Blaustones. They would stay with Chris and I in our guest bedroom. I could hardly contain my excitement. I felt so honored that they would want to stay with us in our home. I wanted everything to be perfect. It was just the burr in the saddle we needed to make sure that the bathroom remodel was completed in plenty of time before our anticipated Christmas guests arrived. And so, the number one spot of my “I love Christmas” list was: 1. Push to complete the bathroom remodel.
And push we did. We shopped. We chose tile and flooring, as well as vanity, mirror, and super cool Edison bulb lighting. We picked out top of the line “no streak” shower doors, as well as trendy matte black fixtures. The workers came and ripped out the old to make way for the new. The actual work didn’t even start until November after Thanksgiving. Still, we were right on schedule for the gorgeous new bathroom to be ready before Christmas. I was tickled. Invigorated, for lack of a better word. My Christmas preparations had only just begun.
Life got busy with all of our church events to ring in the season. Christmas nativity and Christmas teas. Gatherings with large groups of people. Potlucks and more people with food and singing. All of it adding to my own personal joy. Bring it on. The more, the merrier. This year, especially. Let’s do Christmas big. After all, Covid shut us down for at least two Christmases. We owe it to ourselves to celebrate.
Due to the bathroom remodel, and workers in and out of the front door, up and down the stairs, I put off decorating the house. I waited two weeks longer than I normally would, until I could stand it no longer. Finally, I decorated the house with the sparkly tall tree in the entryway, decking the halls with fresh greenery and twinkle lights. I strung the garland and hung the stockings. I even added some Christmas cheer to the spare bedroom for our Christmas guests. The bathroom was finished. Everything was perfect. I felt it. The spirit of Christmas filled my home as well as my heart. I was in my happy place. My Christmas happy place. Now, all that was needed was to wait for my soon to be in-laws to arrive. We’ll lavish them with Christmas joy and Christmas love. The family will be together, just as we should be at Christmas. What could possibly go wrong?
Covid. That’s what. That demon plague that I decided to ignore. The one thing that didn’t make my Christmas list. One week before my guests were to arrive, I got Covid, along with my mother, and many others from my church. I didn’t just get the “sniffles and cough” version. I got the fever, flat on my back, my head is going to explode, I’m dying, version. How could this be? This wasn’t a part of my plan. My plan was a beautiful new bathroom to go along with my magically decorated Christmas house, just in time for my guests to come stay with us for six days. Not Covid, for cryin out loud. Covid changes everything. Covid means taking a test that says I’m positive which means nobody can come near me, let alone stay in my Christmas house. There is no “maybe I’ll be well enough for Christmas”. It wasn’t in the cards. Not this year.
And so, my much anticipated guests had to stay in a hotel. We watched our grandson open his Christmas gifts through FaceTime. The Italian Christmas Eve dinner that had been planned for my house, ended up being Thai food at my son’s house. It was wonderful, and I was grateful to be well enough to be there (8 days post symptoms).
So, what is the moral of this Christmas story? For me it’s a simple one. Simple yet difficult at the same time. Let go, Mary. No matter how much I love Christmas, or how much I wanted to make it the most wonderful Christmas for those that I love, I had no control. Nor have I ever had control of any Christmas, for that matter. That’s God’s department. After all, He’s my reason for celebrating. Not even Covid can change that.
“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9