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.
When 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.