It just wasn’t there anymore. After 30 years of getting the house just like he liked it. It didn’t have the latest decorating trends, the most current, trendiest countertops, cabinets, flooring and the like. As a matter of fact it was somewhat tattered in places, well-lived in you might say. It was too small when the “crew” as he called the boys were growing up, but it had now seemed rather spacious with just he and his most tolerant and easy to please companion whom he had married just before they signed the loan to build their dream home, nestled on the outskirts of civilization in the picturesque forest just off the road. The wild fire had no respect for what they had accomplished.

Yesterday, it was home. Today it was a cement slab with a pile of ash that contained 30 years of memories that now seemed irreplaceable.  For months he had listened in on conversations, through the masks of grousing folks at the local grocery, commenting on how taxing it was to spend so much time hunkered down at home and thank God we still have to eat and have to go to the grocery.  He rather enjoyed the time spent avoiding the virus, getting re acquainted with the house with all its flaws and character and especially reaching a whole new level of connection with her. The “crew” was now disbursed across the land but new unfamiliar technology kept some connection, perhaps even more than in the years since the nest emptied. Now even the computer that he worked so hard to master was a useless, solidified pool of plastic and metal.

After a series of temporary shelters and hotels, they finally had a chance to think about what Christmas would consist of this year.  The “crew” had expanded to the next generation and spread out to the point that numbers and distance made it impossible to share Christmas together in one place.

It would have been easy to feel stripped of Joy, but for the first time perhaps in their lives they felt Christmas. Their lives had been relieved of distractions, glitz, commercialism and they pondered the homeless baby. They thanked God for the 30 wonderful years of Home and their hearts filled with joy for their future. A new era was beginning.