Here are seven random memories I have of Christmas past (in no particular order)…
1. Oh...the excitement and the anticipation before Christmas was almost more than I could stand as a child. And after all the waiting...what a let-down to wake up sick on Christmas morning. And that happened more than once!
2. Some of my favorite gifts in my early years...Tinkertoys, china tea set, white figure skates, and a Monopoly game. My first Bible was a Christmas gift (that I still have)...as was my first wristwatch.
3. One of my best Christmas memories is that of carolling with our youth group every Christmas Eve. We would meet at about 10:00 pm and carol from door to door until well past midnight. What fun it was...and either our singing was much appreciated or people were caught up in the Christmas spirit...but we received candies, cookies, hot chocolate and all manner of goodies for our efforts!
4. I will never forget our first Christmas tree after we were married. In true storybook fashion...we drove up the mountain and found us a little tree beside the road. It was free…it was fun…but was it legal? Hmmm...I'm thinking maybe not. We joined the law-abiding citizens in future years and purchased our trees from the tree farm like everyone else. One year our tree came from a tree farm located next to a hog farm...and soon our entire house smelled...not of pine trees...but of pig sties!
5. Christmas preparations always bring memories of my dear mother-in-law coming over for a baking blitz. We would start mixing cookies at the crack of dawn…and we would bake all day. Had I been on my own…I would have tired of the process in short order. But Nellie could bake forever…and by the time the day was done, every container…and every freezer was full! Oh how I miss her! Another Christmas memento from my mom-in-law is the first Christmas gift she gave me…a pair of black leather gloves, made in Italy and I still wear them.
6. I went to visit Santa at Eaton's department store as a child. What a thrill to climb those stairs to the second floor...traipse through a huge toy department and wait in line to see Santa. I don't recall ever believing there was a Santa...but it was a fun game to play. Eaton's stores disappeared into oblivion about ten years ago, after filing for bankruptcy...but the building where I visited Santa still stands.
7. Every Christmas I memorized poems…usually one for the church program on Christmas Eve and (in my earlier years) there was always a German poem to learn and recite for my grandparents. How I wish that I could remember even one of them! I do however, still know a German song my grandmother taught me…and which I taught my children when they were small. They spoke not a word of German…but could sing the song quite nicely! It wasn’t meant to be a Christmas carol…but it worked beautifully as one, and brings back wonderful Christmas memories for me. The last Christmas that my grandmother was on this earth, we took our three children to visit her in a care home. We had practiced 'her German song’ and the kids were going to sing it for her. When we got there, we found my grandmother in the large meeting room together with all the others. They were waiting for a group of singers to arrive and present a Christmas program…the singers were a ‘no show’ and the seniors were most disappointed. The manager of the home asked if we might be willing to sing something for the group...as they were so looking forward to their concert. Well, we had our one song ready for Grandma…and we sang it heartily for those precious old folks on that winter night just before Christmas.. The words were “It is so wonderful in my Father’s house”. Decades earlier she had taught me to sing this song...one which spoke of anticipation of our eternal home. Now my children sang it for her…and soon she was able to discover for herself how beautiful it really was in ‘her Father’s house’. Among all my memories of Christmas past…this is one of the best.
Jesus came from His Father’s house to live with us…so that we may one day live with Him in that wonderful place. Christmas past, present and future…that’s what it is all about!
If you feel so inclined...join in the fun and play Christmas tag. And be sure to let me know...I'd love to hear your memories of Christmas past!
Enjoy the day...