Christmas Memories

There is really something meaningful and powerful about sharing good stories with someone.  Passing along the memories of a time or event or tradition that blessed our lives in some important way offers a unique opportunity to share that blessing with another.  I hope you will take time and make the effort to share some of your favorite Christmastime memories with someone in the coming days.  Here are a few of my favorite Christmas blessings:

– Although we weren’t a big Santa Claus family, one year my parents and grandparents conspired with a neighbor to bring our Christmas gift sled to the front porch while we were unwrapping presents on Christmas Eve (as was our family tradition at that time), and to make plenty of noise doing it.  The adults then made a fuss over having heard a noise on the porch, and opened the door to see what it was.  Even if only for a little while, Santa Claus became very real for one little guy that Christmas Eve when I saw that beautiful flexible flyer style sled with a big red bow on top.

– We had an upright piano throughout my life, which still sits in the same spot in my parents’ living room.  My Mom played the piano, and my sisters and I each learned to peck away at it a bit here and there.  Every year in December, the old yellowing pages of traditional Christmas carols would emerge from the piano bench.  At times, my whole family would sing them together as my Mom accompanied on the piano.  More often, my sisters and I would just pull out the music and sing.  For my money, nothing beats singing through every fascinating verse of Good King Wenceslas.  Cool story.  Great words.  Stirring music.

– This one may get me in some mild trouble with the in-laws, but it’s worth the risk.  I love the way every year my father-in-law prounounces very emphatically, usually right after Thanksgiving, that “This year we are scaling down on Christmas presents.  Fifty dollar limit.  That’s it!”  And then on Christmas, in apparent utter defiance to “Pops,” the evidence appears that once again the elves have done it their way, and presents appear in bountiful measure.  I don’t know why I enjoy this so much, but I do.  However, given the current economic situation, I am fully prepared to find that the elves have actually been restrained this year.  It’s not about the presents for me, anyway.  I just get a kick out of this little family tradition.

– My first Christmas with my wife will always stand out as a great memory.  We were in college and had only been dating a few months at the time.  I came down with her to spend some Christmastime with her and her family, and actually met my mother-in-law for the first time.  It was a magical time, and as I opened presents and laughed with my girlfriend, something inside me clicked into place and I knew this was our first of many Christmases together.  This Christmas will make 15 holiday seasons shared with my delightful bride.

– Of course the most life-changing Christmas present I ever received came five years ago, when our son made his first appearance five and a half weeks before his mid-January due date.  The Christmas season that year was full of joy, and not much sleep.  It’s kind of a fond blur now.

– When I was in third grade, our school put on a Christmas musical performance, as we did in one form or another each year.  What was memorable for me was that I got to sing a solo verse in “Here We Come A-Wassailing.”  (There’s another Christmas classic that sadly no longer gets much air time!)  I will never forget the look and the nod I got from Harry Fitzgerald, the man who served as a mentor and Bible teacher at our school, as he listened from about the third row.  What I saw on his face was, “Wow, Roger.  You’ve got a real gift at such a young age.”  That was the moment I knew that, whatever else I would become in life, I would always be a singer.  And I’m still singing, whistling, and humming my way through most days.

Okay, I guess that’s enough of my Christmas stories.  What about yours?…

May God bless you and your family richly with grace and peace this Christmas season.

Roger

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