Some members of the family thought it never would come, but Christmas break is here. Unfortunately, Daddy’s Christmas break doesn’t run the full two weeks so I headed off this morning with the unmistakeable feeling of missing out on something–there’s a great deal of holiday fun to be had with the kids at home today.
Not to say that I can’t claim to have already had a hand in the holiday fun…because I came up with the MOST SUPER-FUN holiday decoration. In fact, I’ve been hesitant to show it because once you know of it, it will make your own celebration feel so incomplete and leave unrequiteable yearning in your heart.
Without further ado….
I present to you…
The PuleTide (TM) advent wreath!
It took some tweaking to get things working right. I anticipated accumulation of rain water so I drilled holes in the candleholders to let it drain (but this didn’t prevent the wicks from getting saturated). A larger struggle with buoyancy temporarily made it the first sub-aquatic holiday decoration, but switching from an inner-tube (prone to leaks) to foam rectified that situation. My camera skills aren’t good enough to capture it’s full nightime splendor, but I still think it conveys what your celebration will be lacking without a PuleTide (TM) advent wreath.
And to think–this is Rudy’s first Christmas home, so he’ll probably just take the brilliance of the PuleTide advent wreath for granted!
Last year’s Christmas at UCLA certainly taught us a lesson about not taking things for granted. We’ve enjoyed being together, decorating, advent celebrations at church and the anticipation of everyone being together under one roof. In the midst of this, it was surprising to hear Olivia say how much she was going to miss Christmas at the hospital with all the doctors and nurses. As her older brothers readily agreed, we decided to plan a drive down there tomorrow to check in on our friends and bring some cheer to the families who will be spending this year there. Keep an eye out for us, UCLA friends!
Last year’s Christmas in the ICU made an indelible impact on us as it shed new light for us on the incarnation–that God’s son came into the world in all it’s chaos and uncertainty. In the midst of stress and anguish, there can be beauty and joy because of His presence. We’re so glad for that.
Last year’s circumstances didn’t leave me much room to unleash my creativity on things such as the PuleTide advent wreath. In an attempt to pass the hours in Rudy’s room, some of you might remember I worked out a new take on a familiar Christmas classic. I read it over again this weekend and it brought forth tears of gratitude and empathy for the kids and families that will spend this Christmas in the hospital. In honor of them, I’m reposting it here again. Even if you aren’t spending Christmas in a place of your chosing, may you find peace, comfort and hope there.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, in the CTICU on 5 East, A few creatures were stirring, because they never cease; The fluids were hung by the bedsides with care, In hopes that all would remain peaceful there; The children, not “nestled” but comfortable yet, Saw lots more than sugar-plums thanks to the meds; Dr. Ryan in his coat, Dr. Andy in clogs, Kept quiet watch as they checked patient logs; Far up on the roof there arose quite a clatter, But they wouldn’t have heard what was the matter. Nurse Susan at her station would not have noticed, Her attention on Rudy was lovingly focused. The flat helipad with its lights flashing on top, Made landing much easier than most other stops, The touchdown was simple, but the rest was quite hard, For patients and visitors with no proxy card, But this one was different and he knew some tricks, The card readers and elevators were no match for St. Nick. He stuffed his sack fuller than he ever had yet, For scores below worried that he might forget; To the 5th Floor through the stairwell he came with a bound, Right through the alarmed door with nary a sound. Yes, dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, But he cleaned himself up because they don’t allow soot. Into the PICU he walked without ringing, Quietly as the pumps and the vents did their singing. His eyes kept on twinkling; his dimples still merry, But tender concern showed behind that nose like a cherry. While the nurses’ attention was never averted, Somehow he slipped into each room unobserved, He’d given up the pipe as he’s now much the wiser, And at each door he carefully lathered with the sanitizer. The belly like jelly still shook only slightly, As he kept his voice quiet and laughed only lightly; That wink of his eye and the twist of his head, Assured the small patients they had nothing to dread; He spoke soothing words along with his work, Being careful to turn with nary a jerk, After carefully laying what he’d brought on the bed, He’d give a small whisper and a pat on the head; Without any rush he went door to door, Making sure he missed no one on the entire floor; He returned to his sleigh and offered a prayer, That these little ones wouldn’t be much longer in there, As he prepared to alight from this special stop, The children were assured he hadn’t forgot. So he loudly exclaimed as he drove up into the air, “Be home next Christmas, and I’ll see you there.”