DECEMBER 14, 2020
Holidays in our home bring so many wonderful memories. There were the hours spent in the kitchen with Mom making cookies and other treats. Well, my two brothers and I pretty much just showed up to plop down the cookie cutters and put the sprinkles on the cookies before fighting over which kid would get to lick the bowl and which two would get the beaters. No matter which kid got what, each of us believed that the one we were given was the best of the batch.
I remember a rare snowy Christmas morning when we were very young. Dad took us outside and, one by one, lifted us high above his head to look at the roof to see if we could see Santa’s reindeer tracks. When no one could see them, Dad simply explained that the snow must have covered them up.
A big event for our family was the church’s annual Christmas Cantata, especially with Mom singing in the choir. I remember playing hide and seek under the pews with my brothers, learning the music by heart. But now, I wonder how in the world my Mom focused on the music and the choir director as she watched the heads of her children randomly pop up and then disappear in between the pews.
There was the Thomasville Christmas parade, when we were bundled up and allowed to sit on the curb. Seeing candy thrown from a float, we would jump up and run to grab a piece or two only seconds before another kid did so. Later that evening, Dad would come home from work carrying 3 inflatable plastic Rudolph or Santa toys, given to him by the vendor who used the parking lot at Mann Drugs for the parade, knowing that Dad had 3 small kids.
To this day, every year while decorating the Christmas tree, my most favorite ornaments are hung first, and they are those that were given to me by my parents. One ornament each year for as long as I can remember. They include a couple of mangers and several years of angels (that somehow stopped when I got into junior high), the Peanuts character Lucy, Tweety Bird, and the wooden tennis racquet and glass ornaments all hand painted by my Mom.
As a child, certainly there were elements of Christmas centered on presents under the tree. Yet, I don’t remember many of those gifts which seemed so important at the time. Rather, what I recall is the Love and the moments that were shared with my family and others … and the focus on Christ.
It is what makes this year with its pandemic most difficult. And yet so beautiful, as we are reminded that no Zoom call can replace a gathering, no YouTube video can replace listening to Handel’s Messiah in person, and no wrapped gift will ever replace a hug.