I’m so sorry I have not walked with you for a time for I have missed our walks together. My oldest brother told me how busy he was after he retired, and I questioned that would happen when I retired. I was wrong. Part of it is because I do not have the stamina I once had so everything takes me longer to accomplish than “my mind” estimates.
One day this week, I was going to put hinges on a door to my new storage place in my garage. I was going to hang that door and also build a small staircase to the outside of the garage. I was going to accomplish both things in one day. Well, guess what – I had to reframe around the door that took a day. Then I had to put the hinges on that door and hang it. Dale helped me. That took another day. The stairs did not go so well as the main stringer board had a crack in it and when I drove the last screw in the project, the board split open. I had to glue and restrengthen the stringer – another day. I was going to walk with you that day, but we never got to do so. Today, I walk with you with open arms as long as you do not mind sitting in my study with me rather than going on a walk.
It is Sunday night, and the time is five past five. Dale is working in the living room decorating it for Christmas. Yes, I know my mother and aunts would be disgusted for one did not, in their opinion, decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving Day. But this year that is different.
My brother Milton has been conducting a Sunday church service at his assisted living home, and this week he told me he was going to talk about my mother. Would my mother have accepted not celebrating Thanksgiving with her family because of the pandemic? I asked him this afternoon what he said, and he told me he did not answer the question as he really could not tell how our mom would have reacted to not having her family with her on that special holiday. I am not so sure I could imagine how my mom would act, but I can tell you how Dale and I have reacted to the celebration of Thanksgiving and the pandemic we are experiencing.
We were planning to have our children home for this holiday, but as the time drew near, we felt we should cancel those plans. As our children have been concerned about our health, they were very understanding of our decision and accepted it with love and caring. So, Dale and I will be having our dinner at home, just the two of us. We will, however, think of all of our children and of our wider family and will miss their presence with us.
As Dale has had to teach her college classes online, she knows how to use zoom. We are planning sometime during the day to have a zoom meeting with our children, and if not, that at least a facetime call. We are grateful for modern technology which helps us to make this isolation bearable.
I wonder how you are going to spend your Thanksgiving Day, and I hope you might email me about your plans and how you are doing during this time of difficulty. Perhaps it binds us closer to the early Pilgrims who suffered the loss of so many they loved that first winter in America. Their bravery should inspire all of us to keep our God close and to have faith that our society will heal from the sickness and tragedy that has been upon us.
Now let’s get back to Dale decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. We are cheered by the fact that we believe we can celebrate together with members of our family on Christmas Day and during other days during the season as we have done for many years. Even if it means we have to be quarantined for a time, it will be ok.
Yesterday, we purchased three small fir trees, and I set one of them outside our front door, one on the side lawn by Dale’s garden, and one up on the woodsy hill behind our house. I remembered how the memorial trees were set up in Slater Park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and I used the same method to set up the three trees in our yard. At first in my mind, I was going to go to my shop and make wooden stands for each tree and cut out stakes to nail to the stands to keep the trees upright. Suddenly, “dawn came over Marblehead,” (to use an old New England saying) and I remembered how in Slater Park, they drove a steel fence stake into the ground, and then tied the tree to the fence post. That’s the way I remembered it before I had rushed down into my shop to make the stands. The posts worked beautifully. My trees stand straight and tall. Here in New Hampshire the frost will hold those trees until spring. That was yesterday.
Today, Sunday, I listened to the church service of First Church in Hopkinton as I put the lights on the trees with a star at the top. I have a small bench by the trees so I could sit and rest as I wound the light strings around the trees. After all, I am an elderly man. I gathered all the extension cords I could find and connected all the trees to timers and electricity. Happily, they all turned on around dusk.
Earlier, just as I had finished all I needed to do for those outside trees, I sat on our patio and guess what? At the end of my work, a few snowflakes fell – a gift for my hard work.
I am a Christmas fanatic. I love all things about Christmas. I am also, I like to think, a fanatic Christian. Our faith is so beautiful and so strong. Our belief in our Lord allows us to live bravely and well in spite of difficult times and even dark pandemics. As I think of God’s greatest gift to us, His loving Son, I reflect on HIs peace and love and wisdom that upholds us in times of stress and difficulty. Also as Christmas draws neigh, thinking of that little baby lying in a humble manger brings us a joy in our hearts that can never be extinguished. Live in that joy with me. Hold our Savior close in your heart, and joy and peace will be yours and mine even unto the end of our lives.
Yes, we will miss our special Thanksgiving Day with our families, but we rejoice and give thanks for our Lord who is the way, the truth, and the life. He is our source of eternal joy, forever and ever and ever. Amen.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Thank you for being patient with me and for joining me on our walk tonight. I hope you. will continue to walk with me during the coming Advent season.
“And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.”
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