Christmas memories bring hope, peace and joy
The holiday that celebrates the humble birth of a child often begins months before December 25, with planning and shopping. No year is the same.
The gifts remind us of the wisemen’s gift to the newborn and the child’s gift to each of us. If we were to keep the rest of this story close to reality, it should be noted that we remember in our youth the special moment on Christmas Eve that followed the hoof beats of reindeer on our flat roof and dad cracking a whip saying “on Prancer, on Dancer, and whoa Rudolph”. What made this memory so special was the fact my father was afraid of heights, but climbed a ladder to drive the sleigh for our joy-filled imaginations.
Before that brave act, Christmas Eve began when the tree was decorated and we sang carols in the dark. Some were in German to honor our grandparents – O’ Tannenbaum - “O’Christmas tree, O’Christmas tree, how beautiful are thy branches” . . . leading to a close of the night and bedtime. We remained in bed falling asleep when the reindeer stopped.
I was never able to repeat Dad’s reindeer arrival, but the tree and singing were continued whenever possible. Today our children have children, and we do our best to join in Christmas Day at their home. This year our home decorations are reduced to a table top tree and a festive snowman.
Christmas cards continue arriving from homes far away. One sent a beautiful note about my friend Diane who lived in the Arcata redwoods. She was my first friend in Whittier, California. We remained friends long after I moved to Massachusetts. She was a mother of five boys, who now have families of their own. This Christmas the card was signed by her husband Russ. He sent a picture of Diane with her usual smile of joy stating “she had lived an energetic life before her journey ended.” I regret not knowing about her illness, but I know she has left her spirit with us all and we know it will return every Christmas.