I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We did.
We went to my parents' house in Red Wing.
When we were there for Thanksgiving two years ago, I was pregnant but had not told a soul.
(Not even my husband.)
We laughed about that, since Malachi was about the size of an olive then,
and now he's a big, busy toddler. Like my dad said, he spent the whole day
scouting out the house. He loves to explore new places.
My birthday happened to fall right on Thanksgiving Day,
and I have to admit, it was fantastic to spend it with my folks.
We missed so many holidays and birthdays while they were in Peru and Dallas.
It was a warm, cozy, yummy, family sort of day.
There were nine of us
(and seven of those were Murphys),
but it felt just right.
Malachi scouts out Grampa's cheesecake.
The day after Thanksgiving, we hosted a little leftover party at our house.
(Nate's mom brought the leftovers).
Isaac has been taking swing dance all semester,
so he gave lessons.
His Gramma was a natural.
We all miss Grampa.
I choked up when Julia and Nate started singing "Country Roads,"
one of his favorite songs, on the drive to Red Wing.
And later, when Mom Murphy gave me a lovely card, it was signed from her alone.
So we had a full Thanksgiving,
but in some ways, a partial one.
Something was missing.
Someone was missing.
I know this strange feeling will pass,
but for now, it reminds me of when my grandmothers passed away.
It was hard to believe they were really gone.
They had always been there.
We had all the kids home for the long weekend.
Besides lots of swing dancing, they fit in a fair amount of homework,
some games, and good conversations.
I thought Malachi would be so easy to buy for this year.
Now I'm worried that all he wants is his own computer.
More specifically, he wants a mouse.
Not the kind that squeaks, either.
Our Christmas house is, like our Thanksgiving, partial.
This is our little tree, and it's missing its topper.
Now all the boxes are back in the garage, on their high shelves,
and I don't think any amount of begging is going to get me that tree topper.
Our scrawny silver entryway tree is parked
in a big planter, and held in place by driftwood.
Here it is dusted by this morning's snow.
Usually it has three huge lime green ornaments on its branches,
- yes, that's right, three! -
but not this year.
Those are missing too.
If you are missing somebody or something this year,
(and who isn't?)
may the sights
and the cold
and the warmth
be received like Advent gifts,
day by day reminders
that in our longing to "be with,"
to have nothing missing at all,
we reveal our need for Jesus,
who came to be with us,
fill our longings,
and make us whole.