As daylight fades, I keep catching glimpses of the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree when I swivel our rocker-recliner just so. Somehow, the lights illuminate tidbits of childhood Christmases past, as if they were photographs: Grandma Lois hanging our presents on the tree like her parents did when she grew up in North Dakota in the early 1900s; our stockings hung on the mantle containing an orange stuffed in the toe; cutting out and decorating sugar cookies with Mom and my sisters; stringing popcorn with a needle and thread to hang on the tree; putting together 1000 piece puzzles with everyone; playing hand after hand of Dummy Rummy with our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins; and playing my favorite carol, “Silver Bells” over and over from the only Christmas album my Dad had through his furniture-size stereo. Of course, I was always excited to see what presents I got and can remember some special gifts, but my best memories are always of the special traditions and people who shared their Christmases with me.
Although many of these special people in my life are now gone, they live on in my memories. Todd and I have made our own Christmas traditions and have found joy in sharing our families with each other. The way Christmas looks through these 49 year old eyes is very different from the way they innocently gazed in wonder and excitement when I was a child.
Gratefully, although I didn’t know it at the time, I was learning the most important lesson of the holiday; it’s the people that matter. Grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, friends…whoever you share this season with. And, just as it should be every single day of our lives, not just the 25th of December, it’s about Christ and the gift He gave so that we might have life…Himself.
Merriest of Christmases to you and yours!