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Simple Times

Granny & PawPaw's Christmas

By Suzy McCray

When we had “regular” TV, every morning at 7, old reruns of “The Waltons” came on one of the channels we could receive.

The outcome of each program was usually predictable, with some of the shows almost sugar-coated. But when, even now, I have a chance to watch an old rerun, I watch because the shows are intriguing, interesting and somewhat comforting.

Most of you know the shows feature a family of seven kids, mama and daddy, and even grandfather and grandmother, all living happily under one roof – an extended family unit in the 1930s. (My mama used to say the Waltons were “rich” because they had an indoor bathroom, electricity AND a telephone during those Depression days! Luxuries my mama and her six siblings did without and never seemed to miss.)

At Christmas time, especially, it seems many folks’ thoughts turn to their families, perhaps more than any other time of the year.

There’s mad rushes to the stores with, often times, parents getting into physical confrontations over the last of the latest toys or electronic games on the shelves, wanting to comply with all the requests on their children and grandchildren’s Santa lists.

Don’t get me wrong. We’d love to be able to lavish such gifts on our grown kids and grandkids and more.

Our ideal Christmas would also be for all our family to be here, gathered together in our warm house; the older grandkids sneaking out to their ramshackle fort/tree house in the top of the big, old magnolia tree.

The younger ones taking bread crusts and crackers out to feed the bunnies, goats and chickens while us older folks pass around the little one experiencing her very first Christmas this year ... sort of like a modern-day Walton family.

Then in my heart’s imagination we all gather around our groaning dining table, complete with homemade dressing THIS granny has finally learned to make.

Some of our family WILL be here, of course, and we’ll even have that homemade dressing (likely made lovingly by Paw Paw Mack this year) ... but, as usual, some of our kids and grandbabies will be in states too far away to feel our hugs.

So what’s a modern day Granny and Paw Paw to do? We know we’re not alone in this situation and it’s affecting more and more families every year.

When I was homeschooling Nathan those years ago, every day we read those “armor” verses in Ephesians.

So now our peace is found every morning, midst the pungent smells and warmth of our new, shiny red barn. As we hear the furry creatures munching on their pellets or nibbling on their hay, or the chickens running to see the latest treat their rooster has discovered, we begin our prayers, asking God, in Jesus’ Name, to erect His shield of protection in front of and His hedge of safety all around each one of our babies, whether they are grown or still younger.

If they’re having special problems at work or school; while they’re traveling on the highways or flying to different work assignments; if there’s a special occasion (whether losing that first tooth or enduring the heartbreak of the first elementary school boyfriend); and especially those needs that many miles away we have no way of knowing about ... we lay them all at the feet of our Savior.

Many, many, many years ago I was scared, young and feeling so alone, having been left a single mother of two precious little girls.

As I lay alone one night, talking to God, I suddenly felt His warm arms encircling me! It was not my imagination – the feeling was so REAL even now decades later it sends a shudder through my body at the miracle and comfort of it!

So this Christmas, as in every day of our lives, when we can’t hold those little ones in our laps and can’t reach out to hug the older ones, we’ll be depending on the One whose arms CAN reach around the world.

Distance doesn’t matter. Whether our loved ones are 1,000 miles away in another state, or simply across the county separated from us by a judge’s pen, our Heavenly Father’s arms can reach out and embrace each one.

And they know that Mama and Daddy, or Granny Suzy and Paw Paw Mack, are in our barnyard or in our snug farmhouse sending our love and caring to each one of them through the network a million times more powerful than even the fastest internet – through the power of Prayer and God’s love!

McCray’s Old Field Farm’s Mack and Suzy wish you all a Christmas that is simply-lived and Christ-filled!!

Suzy McCray and her husband Mack are blessed to live on a small homestead in Blount County. She can be reached through her Facebook page or by email at

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