Joy shall be yours

A Placerville, California bed and breakfast inn, all decked out for Christmas 2003

A Placerville, California bed and breakfast inn, all decked out for Christmas 2003

“Villagers all, this frosty tide,
    Let your doors swing open wide,   
  Though wind may follow, and snow beside,
    Yet draw us in by your fire to bide;
              Joy shall be yours in the morning!”
Kenneth Grahame,   from The Wind in the Willows

Christmas Eve has long been my favorite day of the year, but I have some dark and heavy memories associated with that day as well.  Perhaps this is appropriate to the theme of “joy in the morning.”  Whether your fireside tonight is real or only imagined, I hope you will pull up a chair and draw near, literally or deep in your heart, to loved ones and happy memories.  I wish you an evening filled with all that is best about this season, and most of all, I wish you great joy in the morning.


  1. Eric Hedden

    Andy Williams used to sing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, and yet one of the lines in the song referred to “scary ghost stories of Christmases long, long ago”. Can it be that Dickens’ famous tale of Marley was the only source of that lyric? I guess I am just intrigued by this line of the blog: “some dark and heavy memories “. I am sure I will learn more,later – perhaps at a different venue. But “Joy in the Morning” is not lost on me!

    • Eric, I never made the connection between the Andy Williams song and A Christmas Carol, but now that you mention it, it seems that must be what he was referring to. I think the line says “There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long long ago” which I had always assumed referred to the Nativity. My dark and heavy Christmas Eve memories do not involve ghosts, but as you say, that’s another subject for another day. Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

  2. Merry Christmas!!

    • Thank you! Same to all of you :-)!

  3. Carlyle

    Thinking of you and wishing and praying for the very best

    • Thanks Daddy! We are with you and Mama in spirit each and every Christmas!

  4. Bobby Harris

    Read your note and was looking for a piece of paper to write the poem down (I may use it in our family program tonight) and found this that Mom had written on the pad: God-It is He who brought us here; it is He who will keep and preserve us here. It is He who will take us on from here. Have Faith! God can provide a way when there is no way. Psalms 103:1-5 Bless the Lord, Oh my soul.
    From Ella Oney by way of Bobby Harris

    • WOW, Bobby! What an awesome gift to get this message today from “Ms. Ella!” Thanks so much for taking the time to share it with us! We think of your family with love and gratitude for your friendship. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

  5. Merry Christmas my friend!! We love you all.

    • Merry Christmas to you too! Your friendship is one of the greatest gifts we have.

  6. Mike Bertoglio

    Julia have a blessed day. I gave a prayer request on UR site for the empty nesters who are missing their kids.
    I have a dark memory from Thanksgiving three years ago when I was on call at a hospital known for having the worst cafeteria in the state. I had Dinner there with a small rubber like piece of turkey, imitation mashed potatoes and gravy from a jar. Also a small jello salad with cranberry bits. Finally, a tiny slice of pumpkin pie. There were like 6 people in the cafeteria, my wife came down to meet me.
    It was so depressing. Worst thanksgiving ever.

    • Some people say we should forget the painful memories, but I think they provide an important context against which to appreciate the blessings we have. I have a very dismal memory of one year when we were forced (too many details to explain why) to leave our preschool children at a day care center on Christmas Eve, one where they had never stayed, but the only one that was open to “drop in” care. It was strange to us, dark and depressing, and when we picked them up that afternoon they were huddled in a dark corner with an attendant and a few other children with a TV flickering in front of them, which nobody seemed to be watching. That gloomy memory made all the subsequent Christmases glorious by comparison. I do think these sad times help us to be mindful of the many people who are suffering while we are enjoying our own good times. As my friend Ashleigh Brilliant has said, “All this will pass — some of it too slowly, the rest too soon.”

  7. Mike Bertoglio

    That is a great idea to put art work of the kids up for the Holiday. It might be too emotional though.

    • I think it’s easier because we’ve been doing it every year since these things were created. It might be hard to bring them out for the first time in many years, but we are accustomed to them now. There was one difficult year when I intentionally skipped that part of the decorations, but usually they are the first thing I put up. Our oldest son once told me they were his favorite part of the decorations – wonder why :-).

  8. Thank you! And may the Lord’s blessing overflow into your life as you celebrate our Savior’s birth. Merry Christmas, Beautiful Lady!

    • Thank you, Barb, for being with us here! I’m so grateful for your friendship. I’m wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas!


  1. In the company of children | Defeat Despair

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