Thursday, December 1, 2011


One of our favourite family traditions always takes place on December 1st: Tree Day.

On this day (besides phoning my dad to wish him a happy birthday), the Clan McAlpine traditionally puts up the Christmas tree and all the decorations. From the box containing the ornaments, all the Christmas CD's, and the Christmas movies, comes the traditional soundtrack while the tree gets decorated: the Vince Guaraldi Trio's A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Eggnog is served, of course. The smell of cinnamon sticks being heated on the stove adds to the ambiance. And once the tree is up, the lights turned on, and the angel put on top of the tree by whichever child's turn it is this year, we relax as we watch the traditional first movie of the season, The Muppet Christmas Carol.

What makes this year's Tree Day different is that, two days earlier, we took our son to the airport and waved good-bye to him as he heads off for jolly old England.
(Which actually meant that we broke our tradition by moving Tree Day to before he left.)
We're very grateful to God for the spiritual growth we've seen in our son. We are proud of him, his character, his musical talents, and the Godly choices he is making as a young adult. He's excited to be on staff for a Discipleship Training School in the same YWAM location where he was a student a year ago.

And we had a lot of fun together, as he ran us through a nightly marathon of Doctor Who, getting us up to speed with the last two seasons of Britain's favourite show on the telly.

But it's going to be a new and unique experience for Wendy and I, to look around the table on Christmas Day, and have one chair empty.

My parents also navigated this emotional hurdle many years ago, so I know that we'll survive it, too. And I'm proud of my son and the direction of his life. It just made this particular Tree Day a little more poignant and meaningful.

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