If you’ve ever been to Kayesville, Fruit Heights, Davis County or driven along 89 between Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah during Christmas time, you’ve probably seen the large star on the side of the hill. You can read a nice article about its history over on the Standard-Examiner website.
I didn’t grow up in Utah, and so this star doesn’t have a lifelong story for me, but it has come to symbolize almost everything that’s important to me about how I’ve spent a majority of my Christmas holidays since 2000.
Each year, the star has been a bit of a beacon guiding me safely to the Checketts’ home to celebrate the holiday.
A few years ago, when I was staying with Missy & Kory while Ann & Paul were on their mission to Greece / Cyprus, I missed the star. There was one night where I took the long way driving to Kory’s house because I needed to see the star at least once during that trip.
Last year, when I stayed in Tennessee because Ann & Paul were on another mission to Lubbock, Texas, I thought about the star often throughout the holidays.
These sorts of symbols in our lives are important.
Growing up, the holidays were very stressful. Up until age 12, we generally had a pattern where we would spend Christmas Eve with my step-dad’s family and Christmas day with my mom’s family. Christmas Eve was more relaxed while Christmas Day could be very formal — especially if my grandparents were hosting.
The hardest part about Christmas Eve during those years was how differently my older sister and I were treated from the other grandkids, especially when it came to gift time.
Getting ready for Christmas Day could sometimes be a bit hectic, but generally once we got to my grandparents or my aunts or uncle’s house, it was a lot of fun.
Christmas during my teenage years were very hard. The timing of my step-dad’s arrest on Christmas Eve in 1985 brought back many memories of bad times. We would still go visit with his family at Christmas Eve, but I often faced heavy criticism for my role in having my step-dad arrested. We also didn’t go spend time with my mom’s family much during the holidays any longer.
Starting in my 20s, I started spending a majority of my Christmas Day with the Checketts family. In the same way they had given me a safe haven during my teenage years, they also because a new way for me to enjoy the holidays. When they decided to move to Utah, I wasn’t sure this would continue but then coming to Utah became my yearly tradition.
These Utah Christmas trips have often been a respite in crazy times. They are something I start looking forward to months in advance.
This year, I started the planning for my December trip back in June — talking with my boss and making sure that timing and work would be covered. I’m so grateful that I made the effort, and I am super grateful for that star guiding my way.