I just heard Faith Hill’s “Where Are You Christmas?” on the radio. I’m not sure I ever really listened to the words of that song before…what a beautiful song. I think I just adopted it as my theme song this holiday season…”My world is changing. I’m rearranging.” Yep, that kind of sums up where my heart is today. But how ALS and Rudy’s absence is changing this Christmas and our family’s world in general is only magnified by what has been going on in our community for the past 12 days.
The Thomas Fire that broke out in Ventura County a week ago last Monday made it’s way to Santa Barbara County on Sunday and is snaking it’s way up through the south county communities of Carpenteria, Summerland and now Montecito. We aren’t in any fire danger here in Goleta but Santa Barbara and Goleta have been blanketed with smoke and ash since the fire broke out which has severely impacted our community’s day to day. Our local schools closed last Thursday and won’t reopen until after New Years, many businesses have shortened their work days significantly (if not closed all together) and we’re all donning attractive face masks when out and about. It has been heartbreaking to see many we know affected by this massive fire (currently the 4th largest wild fire in CA history) and it will continue as containment is not expected before January 7th!
So far, the festive holiday events we typically participate in have all been cancelled or postponed…certainly adding to the question “Where are you Christmas?”. It isn’t feeling particularly festive or Christmasy around here. We were doing a great job making the most of the situation the first few days…Olivia had some friends over to bake Christmas cookies, we’ve watched a crazy number of Christmas movies and got creative with some crafts but the negative impact is starting to surface. There is just so much to be depressed about and peppy, positive Patsy is fading. Thankfully the house is filling up as Max arrived home on Wednesday, Wilson comes home later today and Aunt Andi flies in from the east coast this afternoon for a quick visit!! That’ll switch things up and lighten the load considerably! It may not feel like Christmas this year for lots of reasons but thankfully the wonder, the anticipation of good things to come, the hope of Christ and the reassurance of God’s presence among us is…always.
I’m particularly thankful, now, that the MOHD Squad got to go down to San Diego the weekend before the fire broke out to see Max perform in his PLNU concert choir Christmas show. The variety of numbers performed made the show fun, festive and quite moving…it was the perfect way to kick off THIS Christmas especially. I captured their rendition of my favorite carol…
Merry, Merry, MERRY Christmas dear ones. May these last few days leading up to Christmas be filled with GREAT JOY, SUSTAINING GRACE, PERFECT PEACE and a STRENGTH of spirit and of mind that is truly beyond what the natural world can muster! Thank you for your friendship and love.