My youngest brother, DJ, is coming for Christmas this year! And as I’ve been getting the spare bedroom ready and planning the shopping list for his visit, I’ve gotten so excited. And I’ve gotten a bit nostalgic too.
Christmas of 2002 our house was bare. Everything had been boxed up and on a slow boat to Alaska. We were moving, due to arrive on the New Year and since it would take over a week for our belongings to arrive on the boat, the house had been packed away when Christmas rolled around. It was a depressing sight for us kids and my parents caught on to that pretty quickly. But they had a surprise up their sleeve. Oh Christmas Eve we all hopped in the car and headed out to the Sumas Mountain Lodge. Sumas is a tiny town near the Canadian border. The Lodge is made up in an alpine style with log home features and a rustic, cozy aura. It was the perfect place to spend Christmas Eve. My parents sprung for the main suite, beautiful and with plenty of space. They brought in a little 2 foot tree for us to pile our few gifts around and we celebrated the birth of a baby, the closeness of family, and the new adventure we were about to begin.
The other Christmas that is forever etched in my mind is the one before I moved away from Alaska, in 2006. My application had been accepted to join a non-profit based out of Salem, OR and embark on my first aid trip in Asia. Bags were packed and I was leaving a few days after Christmas. Our Christmas Eve celebration was cozy and sweet – reading from Matthew and Luke in the Bible before exchanging gifts made the time precious. And bittersweet. I knew it would be the last time I celebrated Christmas with my parents and two brothers all together for a while. After exchanging gifts, my dad and I ended up chatting in the living room. He has an old Magnavox record player from the ’50s and I started poking through the vintage albums he still had for it. We threw on a Bing Crosby Christmas vinyl and I was lost in the crackle and pop that came with the crooner’s melody. My dad and I stayed up until the wee morning hours listening to old Christmas music and talking. And I’ll never forget it.
With DJ coming to visit, I just know this will be another such memorable Christmas to tuck away in my heart. This will be the first Christmas that J and I celebrate together too. And I can’t forget our sweet little pup, Cobalt. Yes, this will be one to forever remember.DJ arrives in the evening of Christmas Eve and we have plans to go home, relax, and exchange gifts between the three of us. Christmas Day we will open stockings before jetting off to have breakfast with J’s family. And then it’s off to Seattle area to fill ourselves with turkey and ham at my grandmother’s house.
So now I’d love to know, what are you doing this Christmas to celebrate? And what are some of your most treasured Christmas memories?
On my mind and heart this season will be my other brother in Afghanistan and the thousands of others like him that are serving their country far from home and family. And also in my prayers are his lovely, strong wife and sweet baby girl who will be missing him during their daughter’s first Christmas. God be with them, we love them, and I pray for safe returns and happy reunions.