“And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
I never tire of hearing the Christmas Story. I like Christmas Carols. I know that “Jesus is the reason for the season”. And I don’t care to see Christmas commercialized before Thanksgiving! With all this in mind, I want to share some of my Christmas memories in hopes it helps you to reflect on Christmases past and remember the impact of the birth of the baby that was laid in the manger more than two centuries ago.
My family moved to rural non-farm New Hampshire when I was three. We soon made it a family tradition to go into the woods and select a Christmas tree, cut it down, and bring it home to decorate. Since property lines are hard to locate in snow covered woods, my Dad expressed concern to the two neighboring landowners and was told by both “not to worry; help yourself”.
The Christmas I was seventeen my younger sister had broken her leg in late June. After 70-plus days in traction and several more weeks in a full body cast –from her rib cage down one leg to her toes—it was Christmas time and time for the family to go get the tree. Mom & Dad weren’t going to let a little thing like a full body cast stop us, so we wrapped her in blankets, put her on a toboggan, and off to the woods to get a tree!
On Christmas Eves we went with some others and sang Christmas Carols to the elderly and other shut-ins. This was followed by hot chocolate and then the annual Christmas Eve Service held at the smallest Protestant Chapel in New England. Various children read the parts of the Christmas Story with Christmas Carols interjected throughout. Pertinent poems and/or other very short stories were also read. Everyone lit their candles to the sounds of Silent Night and we left the building; candles lit.
My wife and I have celebrated Christmas together for the past 46 years. Six of these years were in Germany and those years provided special memories too. Our first German Christmas was our younger son’s first Christmas –at ten days old! A decade or so later a German lady came home with us after the Christmas Eve Service and she reminisced how she was in Berlin the Sunday morning the Berlin Wall went up –and all the grocery stores were on the other side of the wall!
Of the other 40 Christmases together, we have spent them all with my family in New Hampshire or her family in Wisconsin except one. Driving trips such as Texas to Wisconsin or Maryland to New Hampshire aren’t too excessive if you want to spend Christmas with family! The one exception was in Texas and there is something very wrong with being in a short sleeve shirt, standing in the open outside door to an auditorium, perspiration pouring down your back, and singing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”!
As we approach the Christmas Season, remember the significance of the birth of Christ.
And, remember your Christmases past, especially the family gatherings. Share the Christmas Story with a friend or neighbor and share some memories of Christmases past with your family.