Is it already 2019?! I am sitting down to write to you with Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music softly playing and the date astonishes me. Nineteen years since Y2K! Who has thought of that since then?
Christmas cards are decoratively displayed around my church window frame originally from Savannah’s Wesley Monumental Methodist Church on Abercorn Street. As always, my favorites are the photo cards proving another year of growth and accomplishments for loving friends.
A Charlie Brown tree from Daddy’s farm has found a home for the holidays in my sorority suite where the gifts for loved ones nest underneath. The distant train wails. Warm peppermint hot chocolate soothes my soul and all is good. And, though there was no snow in Athens, at least 10 inches recently fell in Kingsport. How exciting ~ what a perfect gift for ushering in this Christmas season!!
I have written to you before about my last three dogs with whom I shared wonderfully glorious times. Without children of my own, my fur babies did as much as any dogs could to liven holiday festivities with their inquisitive minds, curiosity and just “being there.” Upon Abbey’s passing this year, this Christmas season marks the first in 33 years that I am not sharing with a canine. All the exploring walks and rides around the cabin and Elk Lodge are not quite as remarkable as they have been in past years. I miss the wagging tails upon opening a new Nylabone, squeaky toy, hockey puck or antler. I miss watching the attempt to totally destruct each in one sitting. I miss the stealing of each other’s new toys. I miss finding new toys in the most interesting of places. I miss Lily barking and chasing after the train that circled the Christmas tree. I miss the tossing and catching. I miss watching all three eat together in three of the four corners in the pantry ... especially Lily as she always found it more comfortable to sit and eat slowly as Raleigh and Abbey scarfed theirs down. She pretended to be a lady. I miss saying, “Sit” to all three as they lined up together anticipating a treat. Then I would say, “How ‘bout them Dawgs?!” and each would jump up as if cheering. It was SO adorable. Georgia fans loved it. Rival fans ... not so much. I miss allowing all three to enter the sunroom after we enjoyed an afternoon of treats while playing bridge. They enjoyed the crumbs on the floor ~ no need for a vacuum. I miss the cuddle times in my chair when all three wanted to be in my lap at the same time. Made me feel needed ~ if only for a back or behind-the-ears rub.
December has been a frenzy of activity and now I am thankful for the calm before we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Celebrating birthdays growing up in the Kendrick household was undoubtedly marked with anticipation and celebration. Six kids’ birthdays may have been daunting for my parents but on our special day, each of us enjoyed royal treatment with our favorite foods, a homemade cake, presents and most often a little party. Having traveled from home to a foreign land through treacherous areas and rough terrain, young Mary, who close to her due date, must have been completely exhausted upon arriving in Bethlehem. I’d like to think that the inn keeper’s wife learned from her husband that a young couple had arrived and that they were having to sleep in the stable where the animals lived. I’d also like to think that upon learning that the young woman was about to give birth, that she helped with the delivery and prepared food and drink for the weary travelers. Mary and Joseph were certainly alone from family and friends. She did not have her mother to help with the delivery but she did have and completely believed that God would deliver her son into the world of unknown with good health and protection. I am sure much prayer was lifted that night from Joseph and Mary. Perhaps their families back home were praying for them as well. I do hope that the inn keeper and his wife were Christians and praying for the young couple.
Babies are so special. I have held many in the hospital nursery, a couple of my youngest siblings and babies of friends. I have witnessed several births. The whole process is a miracle to me. I would think that most women 2000 years ago were trained to some degree in delivering babies. Little did the inn keeper’s wife know that if indeed she did help Mary and Joseph, she assisted with the delivery of a King and our Savior. As wise men and shepherds visited, perhaps she began to understand the importance of this young family temporarily living in her husband’s stable. Perhaps for future business, she posted a sign stating “Jesus was born here!” Regardless, the miracle happened and we are privileged to honor Him and celebrate His birthday whether He was born on December 25, or not.
I am so thankful for this holiday season and the opportunity to share a few words with you as we end one year and start a new one together. May God bless you and your family with good health and much happiness. And, perhaps, you will get to hold a baby this year and be reminded of the miracle in the manger.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
Susan E. Kendrick is a Sunday Stories columnist who shares her insights and Southern humor each month in Sincerely, Susan. To correspond with Susan, email her at [email protected] To share your events for our Out & About calendar, email [email protected]