This year, many farmers are just trying to get through the holidays. Many have had to make difficult decisions.
Hard conversations have been had at kitchen tables, the same place where many farm kids have written their letters to Santa.
Sad choices have been made for many to sell their dairy cows. When dairy cows are sold it brings in another conversation: Can we stay? How can we stay? Some have also had to move to a new house, a new community, a new life with new traditions.
Many farm families are trying to find their new normal - their new holiday traditions they can keep and ones they will no longer have. Farm families hold traditions close. For some, it may be going home to the farm. For dairy kids, it may be working together Christmas morning before any other festivities can happen. Others have traditions of Christmas lights on the barn and throughout the farm yard.
One of those is the Nativity story. My father had hand painted a ceramic nativity set and built a stable early in my parents' marriage. On Christmas Eve, my father would read the Christmas story to us. I can still hear his strong voice. In my childhood home the nativity stable would be completely empty with the light on, waiting for the birth of Jesus. As we grew older my mom took a Golden Book Nativity story and hand wrote in the book. The hand painted nativity statues would be handed out, the wise men, Joseph, Mary, camels, stable animals, an angel, shepherds and sheep. While my dad would read us the story, he would tell us who would go into the stable. This tradition is important to our family. As the kids get older, they have the conversation of who gets to read and who read the previous year.
This Christmas, celebrate being together. Because that is enough and it does matter. Just to be together.