Home for the Holidays
Proverbs 14:4a says, “When there are no oxen in the stalls, the stalls are clean.” I have a new appreciation for that verse after the holidays. Our two daughters have been home from college this month. During the week after Christmas, our son and his wife and two children were with us for a few days. During that time, my in-laws came to visit. At one time, we had eight adults and two preschoolers at the dinner table. Fortunately, our family loves being together and we had a great time: lots of laughter and lots of family stories. New memories were made and now new stories will be told. Our only regret from the holidays was that my oldest daughter and her husband were not able to be with us.
During this month of family togetherness, there were times when I could not find a clean spoon; someone put the clean dishes away in the wrong place; the lights were left on in the family room; and I found myself asking where the TV remote was. There were a few moments when I was looking forward to the holidays being over and having my home back. The oxen were definitely in the stalls.
But this weekend, the girls will leave for school and the house will return to normal. I will only have to take out one bag of recycling and empty the dishwasher once. There will be milk in the refrigerator and the thermostat will be set to my preferred temperature. I will go to bed at my chosen time and not be awakened with young adults coming home late. There will be no oxen in the stalls and the stalls will be clean. But every time I think about it, I feel sad. As much as the confusion and congestion could be frustrating, it was also joyful. The girls don’t leave until the weekend, but I am already looking forward to having everyone come back home. Maybe that is why the writer of Proverbs continues, ““When there are no oxen in the stalls, the stalls are clean. But there is great increase by the strength of oxen.”