The memory that I am sharing with you will one day be right up there with my dad’s recollection of how he got to school. He walked five miles uphill- both ways! Sometimes he would add, “Barefoot, even in the snow!”

One December our sons had chickenpox. Matt was four and as I was helping him get dressed for church. I noticed a little blister on his back. Kent and I were teaching Christian’s first grade Sunday school class. It was the first Sunday in Advent and the lesson was about Advent and we were going to make Advent wreaths out of green homemade clay.

Knowing how contagious chicken pox is, Kent stayed home with Matt. Christian and I headed to church with our bags of clay and candles. Fortunately, a couple of parents skipped the service to help the class of about 20 make the advent wreaths that each child took home.

One of the parents was a physician and he confirmed my diagnosis, much to my dismay.

So, Matt was homebound and it was heartbreaking to see my beautiful boy covered in sores. The Christmas shopping became Kent’s task (Santa is such a slacker!) and every day he would buy a gift or two. We expected a reprieve when Matt would be over the worst and before Christian broke out, so we found a babysitter who had already had chickenpox and Kent and I headed out to finish our shopping.

It was impressive to see our plan in action. Each person on our list was allotted six minutes in which Kent or I would find the pre-determined gift AND purchase it. If the six minutes elapsed, the recipient got candy. As expected, Christian came down with chickenpox, even worse that Matt. It was just awful and I am so glad that my grandchildren- and yours- will most likely avoid this experience. Christian was in the healing phase by Christmas Eve and we were able to enjoy a fun and festive holiday after all.

My wish for you is that you and yours have a happy, healthy holiday!