In all my spare time (!), I’ve been thinking about Christmas past, particularly the Christmases of my childhood. Though I have no complete memory of any one Christmas, the various vignettes that come to mind are to me, to borrow Amy Grant’s lyrics, heirlooms worth treasuring.
There’s the Christmas my dad worked long and mysterious in the garage. Turns out he was building doll beds for me and my sister which my mom painted and made quilts and pillows, mattresses and dust ruffles to match. There was the Christmas I got a tape recorder and I taped my sister saying “I’m taking my baby-baby HOME!” and she and I laughed and laughed and laughed. And the Christmas we spent in my parents’ hometown, my mom determined to spend Christmas eve and Christmas morning in the house that was my dad’s parents, though it had no central heat and her parents’ home was nice and warm. Well, it was record lows that night, so cold that my dad spent the night coming in our room every hour or so to check our electric blankets. The next morning the pipes had frozen and burst, and we went to my moms’ parents home after all, the temp on the bank sign reading nine degrees as we passed by.
I remember the great anticipation and great joy of my childhood Christmases, my sister and I waking up in the wee hours of the morning, trying our best to wait as long as we could. I remember always having to wake our brother. I guess he would sleep until noon if not for his two eager and impatient sisters! I remember too my mom with her coffee cup, cooking breakfast though we were always sated with the candy from our stocking.
The first Christmas after my husband and I were married, we went to a tree farm to cut down our tree, a small one befitting our small one bedroom apartment. We were so excited about the gifts we had purchased each other that we couldn’t wait and opened them all on Christmas eve. We had no stockings, or at least he didn’t, so I had filled a basket with various stocking stuffers as a “surprise.”
I remember our first Christmas as parents, giving our 11 month old son a little tykes green tractor, and the two Christmases two years apart each with a two week old newborn. A few days after our youngest was born, we strapped all the kids in the van and rode around town looking at Christmas lights. In my exhaustion and the all consuming nature of being a mom to a baby only a few days old, I was amazed by the world outside my narrow experience of diapers and feeding, sleeping in fits and starts. Time hadn’t stood still, I was shocked to discover.
I remember the Christmas my husband got sick while we were visiting my parents, so sick I actually had to take him to the doctor. Our plans were to return home for Christmas eve but my parents (worried about us) urged me to stay. I wanted to be home so badly that I would have pushed the van the whole way if I had to, and told them so. We made it home, our Christmas eve dinner coming from the drive through at McD’s.
Memories, all of them precious, all of them snapshots of the Lord’s goodness to me. Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside, graciously bestowed from the Giver of all good things. As I reflect and remember, I see grace. I see goodness. I see mercy. I see Jesus, the indescribable Gift. So many graces, so many gifts, so many memories. The Lord has indeed been good to us; glory to His name!