[With a slight nod to Robby Burns who said it first about the best laid plans of mice and men.]
Truth to tell, there are two sets of plans. Always.. man plans and God plans.
The grand finale here was planned for Christmas Day in the morning. All the children and grands, geographically able, would come to share the final worship service with us for the Patriarch's last day in the pulpit. A retirement, it was labeled, but it was oh so much more than that.
For our family, it truly was an important event. Generations of preacher/pastors have been the way of things. With this leaving, the line at least pauses until we see who the Lord may raise up in coming generations.
To make this closing a reality, some of the family units put aside their Christmas plans already in place in order to come. Others were scheduled to join our table for dinner following.
The day dawned. The Preacher was unable! Swift calls were made "if you haven't left yet..." sort of calls. Those coming from afar had indeed left yet and in fact were nearly at our door.
Because the change was sudden, alas, I was still sporting my not so glamorous, mismatched early morning attire. [Isn't it sad how we go for comfort when we don't expect callers? - the elegant pink fleece Laura Ashley remained in the closet.]
Group by family group began assembling. [I did manage to dress appropriately on one point, although the Stewart plaid slippers remained for the day.]
As it turned out, it was a lovely day, a fine gathering. The comings and goings of all over-lapped so that each saw the others. That hadn't happened on a Christmas Day in donkey's years. There was much gentle visiting. Each of the children and grandchildren had alone time with the Dad/grandpa. Also a rare happening.
Those that needed to go, went and hopefully with joy. Those who remained ate the planned meal and with joy.
The only traditional element that remained that day was the singing of the Doxology after the prayer, before the meal. The harmony, the spirit are always meaningful. Some how through the years, this has become the centerpiece of any gathering.
So the day's plans were quiet turned on their head. But as it was, our God-planned day turned out to be sweetly memorable in every way. The Ending didn't take place with fireworks and bangs and a cast of many, but rather with a soft sighing and in the bosom of the family only. It was a day oddly blessed in every way.
Now the Christmas trappings are all away in their boxes waiting another year. With them go the already precious memories of this season just past.
This is a simple account, and provides a gentle reminder to hold all our own scripted plans carefully and with open hands.
What better attitude for the unknowns in our year ahead?
So we go on..open handed, carefully and with joy, confident that His plans are already in place and will be revealed one by one when the time is right.