Christmas Planned and Christmas Actual

Our plan for Christmas Day was in place. Our Cleveland kids arrived Christmas Eve, and our St Paul kids would join us for Christmas Day at our house. After sharing snacks and other treats and opening presents, we would have a late afternoon dinner. The table was set, and we were eager for togetherness, our Agneberg Love Fest.

You know the saying, “The best laid plans…” About an hour before our beloved were to join us our daughter called, and I could hear in her voice that something was not right. In a flash a number of scary or at least upsetting possibilities occurred to me.

“Mom, Peter tested positive for COVID and he is sick.”

Peter is 13 and has had the first two vaccinations, but does not yet qualify for the booster and for that reason he is the most vulnerable in the family.

Poor Peter. Poor all of us.

We needed to absorb the news, and Kate needed to make necessary phone calls to other people they had been with in the previous days. Eventually, however, a new plan emerged: Backyard Christmas.

We loaded up the presents, plates of cookies, cherry walnut bread, lefse, and other good stuff, along with a pile of wool blankets and headed to their house where the fire pit was ablaze. Peter stood on the back porch away from the rest of us, but close enough to participate in conversation and to give his Aunt Cricket the play by play account of the Cleveland Browns/Green Bay Packers football game, and we had Christmas.

One of the questions I have asked myself during all these drawn-out COVID months is “What is possible?” We figured out what was possible, and we managed. We adjusted. We cried, but we also laughed, and we did the best we could.

We still had Christmas.

On December 26th we finally got around to eating the planned Christmas Day dinner. Half of it was delivered to our daughter’s house, and the other half was eaten at our dining room table re-set for four, instead of eight.

We managed. We adjusted. We did the best we could.

We still had Christmas.

Thanks to Steve Garnass-Holmes for these words:

You come to share our disappointment with us

so that we might share your hope.

You come into our uncertainties

and show us how to be ourselves.

Welcome, Beloved, welcome.

My Christmas prayer for each of you is that whatever adjustments you may have needed to make this past week still left room for joy and love. May you remember that God’s steadfast love endures forever.

An Invitation: How well did your plans for the holiday match the reality? I would love to know.

2 thoughts on “Christmas Planned and Christmas Actual

  1. One thing we have learned from the pandemic is adapting to our circumstances. Your family, 100%! Hope Peter is doing well!
    My Christmas gift was flying to Portland and back home (on 12/26) without a hitch. No delays or cancellations. I feel blessed and very thankful.


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