Home for Christmas

Though Christmas was still more than a week away, I was going to be heading home the next day. This had been my first extended time away from home. I had arrived at Canadian Union College in mid-August. CUC was almost a thousand miles from my home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and so this would be my first trip home.

Our plan was to leave before 5 a.m., yet my alarm clock did not get to interrupt my sweet dreams. By the time that hideous noise would have attacked the silent night, I was showered, packed and waiting in the lobby for my ride.

And before Tim could find a space in the parking lot, I was halfway down the steps of the dormitory. A few minutes later, we were on the road. I tried to act as cool as a college freshman should, but I could hardly contain my anticipation.

Light snow was falling and drifting slowly across the highway. Snow covered the surrounding landscape, though the road surfaces were clear and dry. The changing winter scenes helped the time pass as we consumed the miles. Sometime after 11:00 that night, we finally turned onto Coldstream Avenue and pulled into my parents’ driveway.

Small, green Christmas lights outlined our house, and the lights of the tree were on inside. Before Tim came to a complete stop, I was out of the car with suitcase in hand and around to the back door. It was locked, so I rang the doorbell three or four times and then pounded on the door impatiently.

Finally the kitchen light came on, followed closely by the porch light. The door opened, and my mother cried, “Ronnie!”

She enveloped me in her arms. When I finally wrestled myself away, Dad gave me a brief and appropriate hug. There were tears in everyone’s eyes.

We visited for a short time before they were beckoned back to their warm beds. I knew sleep wouldn’t arrive soon for me, and that was just fine. I walked into the living room and checked out the tree and all the gifts under it. I breathed in deeply the smell of the still-fresh evergreen.

Then I investigated the pantry and the refrigerator to discover the wonderful foods Mother had prepared especially for me, I thought. It all smelled so good, so familiar. It was wonderful to be home for Christmas.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

December 20, 2007