We traveled this Christmas. We planned, packed, loaded, unloaded, reloaded, and drove over much of the midatlantic region. I have not traveled this far for Christmas in many years. In college I loved being home for the holidays but always dreaded getting there. My sister Gayle got double the travel bug where as I got none. When the children were young we packed up toys, diapers, gifts, excersaucers, bottles, pack and plays and went to relatives but soon that stopped. We were blessed and able to be at home for Christmas and our farthest journey over the holidays was an hour and half long. In my mind that is not a journey, it is an excursion.
This year we had a full fledged journey to make. My husband and children helped carry out all our items to load. Which included the gifts, snacks, sleeping bags, air mattresses, luggage, plus a dog, dog bed, and cookies. I packed the car with efficiently thanks to the Strommen packing gene and we set off. We drove part of the way and found our hotel. It was COLD that night and the hotel seemed fairly quiet. The check in clerk said it was busier the night before, mostly people traveling with their pets. After a bite to eat we all settled in to bed.
My husband fell asleep almost instantly, he was very tired and done the driving. I snuggled in with the children to assist them in laying still and settling down. They do not enjoy sharing a bed, it often helps if I am a barrier until they fall asleep. After I was assured there was even relaxed breathing from both I crawled back to my bed. The dog who was on the floor mumbled at me. (something she has started doing lately) I don't often sleep well in hotels or places that are not my home. I wake often and sleep lightly.
During the night I would wake and hear people walking by our room. I often heard other dogs barking so I knew we were not alone in our travels with animals. At some point I began to picture what it would have been like on Christmas Eve in the stable. It was cold that night in the hotel, was it cold in the stable? The rustling of animals and oders that accompanies them, what was that like? Surely worse than my dogs current "I need a bath bad" smell. Was the night sky clear? Out our window we had the view of an 84 Lumber. It just backed right up to us. All the outside sheds had reminded me again of a stable. I had not been able to see many stars when I had looked out. Eventually I fell asleep for the longest of my stretches of slumber. In the morning we all awoke and it was Christmas Eve. The dog jumped on the bed with Jack and I and we let her stay. She did her usual mumbling. I laughed and asked her what she was saying, maybe it was "Merry Christmas", but Jack said she was saying, "It was about time you let me up here." We ate our breakfast, loaded the car, and continued our journey. I was glad we had found a hotel that welcomed pets. I am also glad that we were on our way to family and friends and are able to welcome the coming of Jesus at Christmas together.