A different kind of Christmas

December 22, 2017

This is turning out to be the most unusual Christmas I've ever had.

I thought at first we would only be seeing our daughter and her husband because our two out-of-state sons were unable to get enough time off to be with us. We had them all at Thanksgiving, so that was okay. But still, the first Christmas with only one of our children.

Then we got a call inviting us to our daughter-in-law's family's mountain house in Virginia, where both our sons will be. Now, we would be missing our daughter, but we'd be seeing both sons. And in a beautiful mountain setting. First time ever away from home for Christmas. But we were looking forward to it.

After a couple weeks of preparation, I had a pile of wrapped gifts and boxes of food and supplies, ready to go.

And now, the latest development. I'm laid up with bronchitis, and we won't be seeing anyone. Just the two of us here. We haven't been without at least two of our children in 30 years. And no other family at all? Never in my life.

This will pretty much be me all weekend.
And no presents to open. My husband and I agreed we wouldn't exchange gifts with each other as we're saving up for a trip next year. But that was okay; most of the fun now is watching everyone else open their presents.

Now, nothing to open. That certainly will be different.

We won't go hungry, though. We have piles of food here. I'm thankful I didn't get any cookie baking done. I felt a cold coming on earlier in the week, and decided to forego the baking and just try and rest and not get sick. Now that we're stuck here with my bronchitis, at least I won't be stuffing my face with cookies! 

My husband dropped off a ham and a casserole and other goodies this morning at our daughter's house. They were coming to dinner tonight, but we're postponing that until I feel better. I froze much of the rest of the food I was going to take with us.

After some realignment of my expectations, I'm trying to see the good here.

*** I can do a lot of reading which I've missed out on during busy weeks of preparation.

*** We have lots of wood stacked for cozy nights by the fire.

*** I won't have to do any cooking, just reheating. 

*** While we can't go to church (coughing too much), we can read the familiar story from Luke together and listen to some lovely Christmas music.

*** Our kitty won't be lonely for four days.

*** We can work on a puzzle together and watch movies.

*** I can nap and rest and make plans for 2018.

As my husband said this morning, we have had so many wonderful Christmases together with our family. We have memories and more to look forward to. Our children will be with in-laws and friends who love them.

And we have each other.

And we have the gift of Jesus, The Most Important Thing.
 One of my best Christmas memories was when I was pregnant and on bed rest and could do nothing but sit on the couch. No shopping, no baking, no decorating, no parties. But it was peaceful and lovely, just enjoying the lights on the tree and reading stories to our three-year-old daughter.  Who knows? Maybe this Christmas will be special in its own way, too.

 A Merry Christmas to you, my dear blog friends. Enjoy your family. And if you're alone, double hugs. xo Deborah


  1. Oh my sweet darling, I am so terribly sorry you are sick!!!! That's AWFUL!

    I think - in its odd way - perhaps you finding the silver lining in all of this is just exactly what the doctor ordered. Some rest, some peace and lots of spiritual reflection - it truly and sincerely what Christmas should be.

    God speed to your recovery, and my very VERY best to you and your husband this Christmas and in the coming new year. Love and hugs, dear friend. xxoo ♥

  2. Oh, my sweet friend...I am so sorry to learn you are not feeling well. Please know that I shall be praying for you and I truly hope you have a blessed Christmas with your beloved. While it's not what you planned, maybe God has something special planned just for you {{smiles}}

    Take care of yourself, dear one. And please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Have a very Merry Christmas. Much love to you!

  3. Men's best laid plans...
    For some beautiful reason, God has you right where He wants you, so relax, breath in, rest and enjoy what lies ahead for you and your husband this Christmas.
    I'm usually down with a UTI this time of year and I believe it's from sugar and stress. There have been years when I totally missed Christmas and spent it in bed. Today I went and had acupuncture and she told me that getting those UTI's is my weak area for stress. I hope to beat it this year and make it to Christmas day with mom joining us as we gather at one of my sister's. With all that mom has been through, I'm thankful we have her for Christmas.
    I will be praying for you, dear friend.

    Love and joy,

  4. Oh Deborah I'm sorry you are sick at Christmas! Deborah I know what it is like to be sick at Christmas. Our first Christmas as a married couple we were both sick with the flu. Then there was the Christmas when our girls were little Christmas dinner was pbj sandwiches much to their delight because Tim and I were sick.

    You take care of yourself and get better. Enjoy this time of rest and have some yummy tea in a pretty cup!

  5. It's no fun being sick during this time of year. I'm sorry to hear that your Christmas plans didn't work out as planned. Take it easy and feel better soon! Merry Christmas, Deborah!

  6. Oh, I am so very sorry but you certainly do have a good attitude about it. I do hope the days ahead will bring you restored health and a healthy start to 2018. Sweet blessings sweet friend as you rest and relax this Christmas.

  7. Dear Deborah: With all the flu going around....better safe than sorry. Take time to rest and once you are well in the weeks ahead - take a nice trip. You need something to look forward too for the NEW YEAR. I prayed for you just now!

  8. Oh dear Deborah ~ I am so sorry you are ill, and pray you'll soon be all well. You have a positive attitude and that goes a long way in healing. It sounds like you have things under control as to food, etc. Sorry your plans for the holidays didn't work out. You will have a lovely time with your dear hubby.

    You do have sweet memories of Christmases past and you have your dear husband by your side. Those are wonderful gifts.

    Thank you for double hugs. While I will be with friends on Christmas day, I will be missing my best friend of all, my dear husband. It is hard to believe he's been gone 5 years this month. I know where he is and that gives me peace. He is celebrating Christmas with our awesome God.

    Your book came last night and I've started reading it this morning. I know that I will be encouraged and inspired by it. I'll write a review when I'm done.

    Happy Christmas dear Deborah ~ Love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

  9. We are having a similar experience here. We spend Thanksgiving with the kids so they go to their NJ and NY in-laws for Christmas. We'd planned an early morning pre-Christmas with them this morning before they left town but last night about midnight, I started getting texts saying my grandson was having tummy issues and we should definitely not come over. I turned off my 5am alarm. As I type this I've just finished a piece of quiche I'd prepared to share and sliced bananas with fruit dip - a part of our Christmas morning tradition. Now Rick and I will sit for the remainder of holiday. :( Such is life at 60, huh? On the upside, I slowly savored your book this week and ordered a copy for my Mother. A magnificent read! Thank you.

  10. We are spending Christmas on our own to, the first time in 36 years. We are looking on it as a bonus with lots of plans to catch up with some reading and films. Hope you get well soon, take care and best wishes for this special season.

  11. I'm sorry you're sick, Deborah! So many are getting the same thing, and I have been on pins and needles hoping I wouldn't - too much to do in hosting my family tomorrow night! I love your take on it all, though. I hope you feel better very soon. That trip to VA sounds enticing, even after Christmas! Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

  12. You are doing exactly the right thing,IMHO. Don't be surprised if in the future you look back on this Christmas as a most special one. I do hope you feel better soon and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  13. Oh dear Deborah...I am so sorry you are sick! There certainly seems to be so much of this going around everywhere! Although you will dearly miss seeing your kids and missing out on the festivities, being home with the hubby won't be so bad. I will actually be spending day with my fur babies since Jim will be working. We are having Christmas gathering #2 this evening due to conflicting schedules so it will be a low-key Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I am actually looking forward to a quiet day of reflection....shhhhh....don't tell anyone! My prayers are with you to to feel better soon and have a Merry Christmas anyway! Hugs!

  14. So sorry you are sick! Love reading your blog but never commented...till now. Bad colds here and my husband's turned into bronchitis. Had to go back to the doctor for stronger meds and he is like you...on the sofa with a throw and me making him endless cups of tea and soup. Hope you feel better fast...and hope he does, too. This is a VERY different Christmas for us - we retired in January, looked around to downsize and all of sudden a spot in an apartment community opened up and we grabbed it. In 6 days we changed our life, bought into this spot, and sold our home. The summer was yard sales, donations, packing...then moving. Since August we are settling in, loving our new space and neighbors. Now, the holidays - first in this new space. Invited 3 other couples who were going to be alone on Christmas Eve for our traditional Eastern European Holy Supper. As of today my husband says he will feel well enough to do this....But, no family on Christmas day, good friends from several states away are staying home, and in this new space all seems VERY different. Looking on the good side like you - cozy time to read, nap, watch movies, plan for next year. WONDERFUL new friends who are dropping by with soup and good thoughts, sharing our traditions with others, and no shopping or wrapping as this MOVE was our gift. Wishing you the best and most different Merry Christmas! www.ournewvista.com

  15. Dear Deborah, I’m so very sorry you are battling bronchitis this Christmas. We never know how plans can change so quickly. Yet, so reassuring to know that Gods love for us is always the same in all situations. I know you will miss the kids this year but being with your hubby will be extra special. Sending you well wishes for a prompt recovery and a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year xo

  16. I almost had tears reading this, but I so understand. As we grow older we adjust to changes as we have our kids' inlaws plans to consider, etc. Sounded like you had it all worked out but then .... seems like you can only thank God for His plans for you for Christmas, as it's obvious He had this in mind for you. It actually sounds pretty good to me, and a special time with your husband. I've had bronchitis the last three New Year's Eve (to the doc's that actual day) so I probably had it over Christmas. This year I am trying to stay healthy but ... Have a wonderful, quiet Christmas!

  17. OH, Deborah, I'm sorry! What fluctuating plans! I'm glad you've decided to rest. Please have a quiet, peaceful Christmas, even without your kids.

  18. Dear Deborah,
    As I sit on the couch with the tree lights twinkling, resting for a short while before continuing on with preparations for Christmas, I have a twinge of envy for your quiet, peaceful celebration. Christmas changes throughout the years, doesn't it? We must adjust with it. The children and grandchildren will all be here on the 25th and we will have a lovely, boisterous time. I know I'm tired just now, and will try to take some quiet moments tomorrow before the big day so that I can celebrate on the 25th.
    I hope you recover quickly from your bronchitis and that the promise of Emmanuel, God with us, will be sensed in your heart this Christmas. May your days be filled with quiet merriment.

  19. Deborah, sending lots of prayers and hugs so you get well soon! This may turn out to be a most memorable (in a very good way) Christmas. Take care of yourself, lots of tea and chicken soup, lots of naps with the kitty. xoxo

  20. You've made it sound almost nice to be sick, Deborah, almost. Please take care. There will be more traditional Christmases ahead. This could be one that someday you'll look fondly back on.

    I know you'll be celebrating the gift of the Babe. I will be too,

  21. I really understand this. I had the same thing happen about 3 years ago---and we have 4 children and 12 grandchildren (at that point). It is different and I decided I was not going to get into a pity party. I watched old movies I had wanted to see again and leafed through piles of magazines I had just glanced through prior to that.

    Just take each moment as it comes and try not to think about the "what should be happening" moments. God bless you and Merry Christmas. xo Diana

  22. Hope you're feeling better on this Christmas Day, Deborah. Recuperating can be rejuvenating, too, both regarding body and soul.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery and all the very best in health and happiness in the new year.

    Merry Christmas!


  23. I'm so sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. Hope you feel better soon. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  24. I am so sorry to hear that you've had bronchitis, dear friend. Things sometimes don't go as we had planned, do they, and we realize that we are not in control. I hope that you and your hubby had a quiet, restful Christmas, and enjoyed the company of each other. Your daughter and son in law will certainly love being with you when you're well. Warm Hugs are sent to you....

  25. You are not the only one if that helps :) I came down with a bad cold about 2 days prior to Christmas and stayed away from the family so as not to spread it around.

    Spent a quick ten minutes there for gift openings and left, Kleenex in hand : )

  26. Always look for God in the interruptions...Gloria Gaither said that or something like it and I believe it, too. Feel better soon and write again filling us in on the joys of an interrupted Christmas.

  27. Dearest Deborah,
    Oh my, poor you... A bronchitis can linger for so long; had to shake off many of them.
    Hope you're done coughing by now!
    Well, we have had to live through 34 Christmas celebrations without any family. Only one year, when our foster-daughter Anita had graduated from university in Indonesia (we sponsored her through college and university) she was with us. Very special and that's the only time we did wrap gifts for each other. Fond memories.
    This Christmas we were grateful for Pieter being stable again and as for me, I worked too hard, tackling the laundry that had piled up while I did write the stories about South Africa. I'd told myself before Christmas I had to launder it ALLand iron it. So I did but I got a nasty mid back pain. Don't know if it was a cold or otherwise. Took some more Turmeric capsules and today was the first day that I was pain-free. Happy!
    We went to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville for a heavenly midnight Mass. Last year they had the Philharmonic Orchestra playing. This year just the organ with some great soloists. Loved the 15 minutes of caroling before Mass. We only had to walk 700 m from our Hyatt Regency Riverfront hotel. Very convenient and it was a balmy 70s.
    Next day I drove 4.5 hrs more south to Ft. Lauderdale and we enjoyed low 80s. So good, especially knowing that it is freezing back home.
    Cats were kind of lost when they saw us load the car and even the cat sitter mentioned they were still a bit off... Always feeling guilty for having to leave them behind!
    Guess you both managed to live without family once again.
    Sending you hugs and healing.

  28. Aw - so sorry to hear, but it sounds like you are looking on the bright side. Hopefully by now you are feeling better and well rested. Wishing you a lovely New Year filled with blessings. Hugs xo Karen


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