Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve on a Livestock Farm

Christmas Eve brings a whole bag full of emotions to me each year. Today (12/24/2011) is a good example.

I sit at my office desk in the hog barn writing a blog because my employees are at work out in the barns. I just am not able to be at home resting with my family until they can go home to. There are not enough of us to rotate holidays. So we help each other get done, and skip some optional chores so we can go home. But the animals must be cared for. Why do you think "the cattle are" They want to be fed. They thought that the hay in the manger was for them.

Christmas day is my wife's birthday. I have wrestled for years trying to find a way to make it a special day for her. I have concluded it can't be done. When I get discouraged by the commercialization of my Savior's birth and think no one knows the meaning of Christmas anymore, I am reminded that it is impossible to overshadow Christ's day with my wife's birthday, at least in our house. Fortunately, I am married to an angel, and I have never seen her seem to mind that she has to share her day.

Then there are the empty chairs at so many tables of so many friends this year. This thought gets more clear to me each year as I experience the reality of time. Some day there will be sadness in my heart again because there will be another empty chair at the table. But isn't that the meaning of Christmas? Christ came to earth, knowing he would die. But he came anyway. Without Him there would be no Easter and no hope for those whose chairs are empty.

I can't speak of empty chairs and the responsibility of caring for animals without remembering the day I was old enough to "help" my dad Christmas day. I would haelp so the work could get done faster. That was the day I realised that once the animals were all cared for on Christmas day my dad and his employees stood around "in a sunny spot where the wind don't blow" and talked and joked for about an hour. Meanwhile, all these years, I had been at home, on my knees, on the couch, nose pressed to the picture window, looking down our country drive, waiting, waiting, waiting, for dad to get home. I remember both sides of this as clear as a can be.

But of course it isn't all empty chairs that I think about. I remember the high chairs filled with excited children. The christmas tree up on a table, or fenced off with a baby gate too. I can't think back on that without a smile in my heart.

There are alot of emotions that go with Christmas.

God is Good ...All the time.

Merry Christmas

P.S I think there are some people waiting at home for me.


  1. I found your blog in an Ohio magazine, not sure which one but finally able to check it out. I grew up in Butler Co. and now live in SE, Ohio on a 26 acre sustainable small farm. My husband and I have been married 35 years and have 7 children.I can relate to your Christmas-Birthday situation because I was born on Christmas Eve. My husband does not want my birthday to be over-shadowed with Christmas. I just see it as a way to celabrate my BD with the birthday of a King and I don't mind. What a special thing the Lord did for me(or my parents) than to be able to share such a special day. I think your wife would agree.