Spiritual Season For Beloved

“Two tiny track trails in the freshly fallen Christmas eve morning snow.”

Early dawn, one traced into the barn, perhaps big tom Garfield retrieving early breakfast, the other southwest.

Feed bucket in hand following those tracks flinched as Princess Cottontail dashed from nowhere to the south barn and away.

Split second winced again when Peter Cottontail jumped out of the shop or from under the trailer headed opposite direction.

Despite freezing temperature, warm feeling spread inside as uncontrollable broad satisfied smile spread. Nothing better than living on a Flint Hills ranch.

Bishop’s reminder of season’s true meaning and necessity of assisting others coupled by young, bright seminarian’s optimism likewise heightened thermostat reading.

Final preparations throughout the day as the small family arrived for cozy season’s evening traditions.

Calm, quiet Christmas morning when Maggie’s feed welcome nicker satisfied and complementary gentle rub responded by more aggressive nuzzle.

Too many empty pews yet twinkles gleamed through artificial cedars overlooking Newborn Savior in traditional nativity. Cutest, tiniest girl crawling right up within inches arms outreached despite cautioning Mommy and Daddy spirit glows for all ages.

Perhaps morbid, certainly sad in its way, yet beautiful, calming, rewarding what’s become annual custom visiting those gone to Great Beyond.

Only a handful of stops in three cemeteries, but a couple dozen family members prayed for, remembered, reflected about.

Hundreds of others as slowly drove the tight gravel roads scanning names on stones in every direction. So many friends and acquaintances garnered in such precious few earthly days.

Thankfully journeyed south the only ones to visit Marie and Floyd. Placement of small artificial red floret at the tomb couldn’t help but recollect Polled Herefords and bottomland farming.

Visit to Aunt Lu fondest memories, so smart, a little orneriness forever, her birthday, too, 99 years now.

Uncle Don gone four decades reminisce five shots, five down quail, shorthair Rusty delivering prey. That Jeep six Staghounds with big tongues slobbering down Main coyotes beware.

In Calvary, namesake grandpa Frank, beloved grandma Nannie and so strong gruff uncle Elmer.

Dad first at 70, Mom only 62, gone many decades, positive influences continuing into eternity.

Others’ meditative stops, yet, few make such memorial pilgrimages.

Reminded of Romans 14:9: “Christ died and lived again that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”