Holiday Transitions

Mini version of the one we gave away.

Mini version of the one we gave away.

As the leftover items from our yard sale were loaded into a big truck to be donated to a worthwhile charity this past summer, it wasn’t seeing doll furniture or well-loved dishes disappearing through the big open doors on the side of the truck that made me cry. It was the big straw turkey that had been a part of our Thanksgiving decorations for many years. He seemed to be looking at me saying, “What did I do? Didn’t I faithfully sit on your front porch through all kinds of weather? And I have to tell you, that pumpkin rotting next to me didn’t smell so good either!”

But he had to go because we were “downsizing.” Not only did I think there wouldn’t be a spot for him on our new front porch, I didn’t think we would want to store him the other 11 months of the year. Bye-bye turkey.

That’s just one of the holiday tradition transitions that we’ll be experiencing this year. With every move the question is always asked: Where will we put the Christmas tree in this new house? After a move like ours, the question will more likely be: Do we still have a tree? If so, where is it? And did we keep those dangling icicle lights or did we toss them?

Changes in holiday traditions can be unsettling. There’s comfort in knowing the fall leaves, pumpkins and gourds always go on the mantel at Thanksgiving, and the nativity set is always set up on the buffet in the dining room for Christmas. But what if you move to a home without a mantel? What if you sold the buffet at auction and got a pitiful amount for it? (Sorry, touchy subject there.)

I know I’ll enjoy decorating our new, smaller home for the holidays this year, and I will appreciate our decorations even more because they survived the move. Due to sentimental attachment or simple oversight, whatever we have now wasn’t culled, so decorating will be like introducing old friends to our new home. I’ll try to focus not on what has changed, but on what will never change.

Gone is the big oak dining table with three leaves that expanded to ten feet long. Yet no matter who sits around our smaller Thanksgiving table this year, we’ll still have warm memories of all the faces who’ve been around our table in years past. We’ll still get a lump in our throats when each person shares what he or she is most grateful for this year, and we’ll still praise God and thank Him for all the blessings He bestows on us day after day—including the opportunity to downsize.

IMG_2690When Christmas rolls around our cat, Molly, will still take up residence under the tree. We’ll still have the crèches and tree ornaments that remind us of the reason for the season: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). My husband will still say that “Mary, Did You Know?” is his favorite Christmas song, and singing “Silent Night” by candlelight on Christmas Eve will still bring tears to my eyes. Yes, there will be changes and transitions this holiday season, but the people we love will seem even dearer, and the God we serve will still be sovereign over all. The best things in life transition well.


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Comments

  1. Elizabeth Van Liere says:

    Downsizing. Such a sad word in many ways. But as we do, we can look forward to the upsize when we go to meet the one who came as a baby and left as our Savior.
    Thanks for another thoughtful message, Nancy. Love, Betty

  2. Nancy, I can relate! For my husband and me, it’s “that Christmas Mouse” that we just can never part with. He’s even lost an eye by now, but he remains one of my husband’s and my favorite Christmas tree ornaments, and he represents to us the love, sentimentality, and remembrances we associate with Christmas.

    We are similarly downsizing, and it actually feels freeing in many ways. With a smaller home and fewer possessions, we now have more time to go outside and walk, to travel, and to spend time with friends. We can also pursue hobbies we never had time for before.

    In all the seasons of our lives, God is with us every step of the way! By the time we’ve reached the age of sixty, we’ve been through enough periods of “testing” that our faith has grown stronger, knowing with assurance that God will step in and “rescue” us when we really need it.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Lisa. Yes, the blessings are many for this season of life. Enjoy hanging your little mouse this year!

  3. Lovely post, Nancy, and touching reminders.
    When an elderly friend from my mother’s church choir moved into a nursing facility, we took over fresh cinnamon bread, hoping the smell and taste would help her settle in. She reached out and patted my mother’s hand. “Oh, don’t you worry about me,” she said. “When you move into a smaller place, you make a larger space in your heart to meet new people and sing new songs.”
    Here’s to meeting new people and singing new songs, Nancy. Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Yes Nancy, the important things always transition well. Much love and best wishes for the coming season of change and sameness.

  5. Bernice Herrold says:

    Nancy-that mini version turkey in the above picture looks just like the one I picked up at Goodwill and will be in my decorations for my buffet for Thanksgiving..loved the whole story as I am letting loose of things also–so very hard

    Bernice

    • Oh Bernice, I’m sure the changes this holiday season may be difficult, but you will get through them with God’s help. God bless you.

  6. alice ferguson says:

    just reading this evoked a tear or two; how true, Nancy
    all the temporary things that do not survive the transitions of our lives
    are but the decorations, the trimming and the traditions on the mantel of that which is permanent.

  7. Beautiful and poetic comment, Alice. I’m so grateful for YOU. Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. Mike Chapman says:

    So well said, Nancy! We got rid of so much before moving to Florida, and our house here still feels “new”, but we held on to a lot of our old, familiar decorations. (I’m STILL unpacking low-priority boxes from the garage!). We love & miss you all!

  9. Thanks, Mike! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you also. We miss you!

  10. Dear Friend,
    This was my catch up on Nancy blogs morning. And as usual, this one and the looking back one made me cry and smile. I always feel a bit more peace and assurance that it is well with my soul after reading one of these. Looking forward to tonight!!

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