Just before Christmas, MJ and I sent our Christmas greetings and suggested that this year, more than others, we were missing family, friends, turkey, baking, and yes, even the white stuff that has been blanketing Canada with an intensity this year.
Instead of wallowing in our lonely feeling, we planned a get away from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. The place where we stayed was in an expansive valley, sprawling with all kinds of walking trails, and surrounded by hills that came alive with the dawn of day.
Although the weather did not cooperate, we chose to make the best of our time apart. Christmas Eve, we walked the main street of Dullstroom and the trails that wound their way through the valley that was dotted with trout ponds around our accommodation. The cool, damp weather of Christmas Day, allowed us to use the fireplace in our room from morning till night. Through the marvellous venue called the internet, we spent one and a half hours on Face Time with our children in Canada, opening gifts, laughing at one another’s reactions, and creating incredible memories. For the rest of the day, we walked six kilometres of trail, sat and read a book and prepared ourselves to go out and savour an exquisite Christmas night meal. Boxing Day, MJ and I climbed the hill behind our accommodation. According to the health app on my phone, we walked 11.4 kilometres, climbed the equivalent of sixty-six floors and took sixteen thousand two hundred and eighty-eight steps.
Over the years, we have made lifelong memories of the times we had with family and friends, as we got caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, and I must admit, I always enjoyed every minute of it. This year, we chose to quiet ourselves, enjoy each others company, and discover the tranquillity, refreshment, and rejuvenation of a quiet Christmas. In essence, we were forced to make every minute count of our quiet getaway.
On December 30th, I was taken by the Our Daily Bread devotional called “Time Alone With God”. It took on greater significance because MJ and I had just experienced time away with each other. I close this blog with an excerpt from that devotional. May it speak into your life at the beginning of 2017.
“It was a busy morning in the church room where I was helping. Nearly a dozen little children were chattering and playing. There was so much activity that the room became warm and I propped the door open. One little boy saw this as his chance to escape so when he thought no one was looking, he tiptoed out the door. Hot on his trail, I wasn’t surprised that he was headed straight for his daddy’s arms.
The little boy did what we need to do when life becomes busy and overwhelming—he slipped away to be with his father. Jesus looked for opportunities to spend time with His heavenly Father in prayer. Some might say this was how He coped with the demands that depleted His human energy…Jesus repeatedly helped multitudes of people, yet He didn’t allow Himself to become haggard and hurried. He nurtured His connection with God through prayer.”
Until next time…