Merry Christmas to all! And I say that most sincerely…
I don’t know why—I can’t explain it, but this year I have the most Peaceful feeling I’ve ever had at Christmastime. My life, like yours, is not without stress and the usual worries, (all we have to do is take a quick glance at Washington DC, and what’s happening to our country, and we can conjure up plenty of stress and worry to go around), but for some reason, I will not allow myself to be upset, nor let anything affect the true meaning of CHRISTMAS this year!
Maybe it’s that I just celebrated (very quietly) my 65th birthday…who knows? But age has never been a scary thing to me, nor dying since I KNOW my Lord will be there to greet me along with loved ones I will be soooooo happy to see, and be reunited with in spirit. Besides, I don’t think death is just around the corner for me, (if I die of natural causes, that is) since both my parents are still living in their late 80’s, and have now been married sixty-six years. Lordy! Can you imagine?
No, it’s for some other reason I feel so at Peace. But I can’t say for sure just what or why—maybe it’s “Women’s Intuition,” but I KNOW something great is about to happen this Christmas. I hope it’s a deeper understanding of why we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. It’s certainly NOT to keep the retail stores in the BLACK as they say nowadays.
Already I’ve taken note of how much less $$$ we’ll have to spend personally this Christmas season since we finally agreed among family members to draw names. That means; anyone over eighteen has to put your name in the hat, and then draw one out in order to know whom you will get a nice gift for. If you draw your spouse’s name, then you have to put the name back in the hat, and draw another since spouses usually buy for their mates anyway, (or should).
With name drawing the adults get a real reprieve from so much shopping and spending of their kid’s college fund, ha! ha! (probably true), and we oldie-moldies on a retirement income don’t get beat up quite so bad financially either. The next generation, (we have 3 & ½ great grandkids already) has begun, and it soon will be outta hand if we don’t change the rules now!
ON TO SOME GOOD OL’ HOLIDAY MEMORIES!
I think the best part of aging is all the wonderful memories we have stored from our childhood, young adult years, (when we made all our mistakes) and the years my children are in now where they are going through the joys (tongue in cheek) of getting their own clan raised, and over the bumps of life without too many scars. Every time I am tempted to tell my kids what best to do, I have to stop and remember they are way beyond the age of needing my advice. (It’s hard to bite one’s tongue—mine is sore most of the time!)
When I think of how carefree our days were while waiting for Christmas, it almost makes me feel guilty because I know it was really hard for my folks to scrape together enough money to get the most meager of gifts for us kids, but somehow they did, and we were thrilled because we didn’t dream GRAND and EXPENSIVE like kids do today.
The excitement would begin when Dad would cut down a tree in the woods, and haul it home on the logging truck fender, then, we’d put the bare side against the wall where all the needles had blown off on the trip home, and hang lots of silver icicles on the front so no one could see through to the back (our little secret every year from the visitors to our house who had no idea we were so good at camouflage.)
I get a lump in my throat when I remember the shiny blue bulbs, large and small, with a matching tree-topper we hung on that scrawny tree for many years. (The whole lot probably cost less than $2.50 at the Twisp Mercantile.) There were also the colorful, connecting-rings we kids made in grade school, and wrapped proudly around and around the Christmas tree as garland. We made ornaments through the early years of school too, and covered them with aluminum foil, (that old staple). Mom graciously let us hang those too, so ya might say our tree was not fancy, but when Dad plugged in those multi-colored lights he’d cussed and fought to string, you’d have thought an Angel had just landed right in the middle of our living room on Mom’s Clorox and mopped-white floorboards.
It took so little for us to get excited about Christmas, and all the celebrations it entailed from the day after Thanksgiving when our little tummies still hurt from a fantastic feast (in our eyes anyway) to December 25th!
There were church choir specials for us kids to practice and sing on Christmas Eve, and school plays to learn songs and recite a line or two in, the catalog order we waited excitedly everyday to see the notice come in our mail box telling Mom it had finally ARRIVED, the grandparents we’d see who lived far away, and the cousins we’d have altogether in one place to play with for hours out in the snow, or inside by the fire. (I don’t remember any arguing or fighting among us over the holidays—we were too happy to see each other, and show off our new Tonka toy, Roy Roger’s guns & holster, pretty dollies with golden curls, slippers, pajamas, or matching hat, mittens and scarf grandma knitted.)
The older we got, the busier it seems things were because we had more activities away from the house included in with the other traditional things we did every year. Caroling on the back of a horse-drawn hay wagon with our teenage friends is one memory I’ll not soon forget. People would bundle up and come out on their front porch or steps to hear us sing. Our noses would be red from the cold, and fingers starting to numb, but it was great fun!
If I have one thing I wish were different about Christmas as a wee child, it would be that Dad would have let us believe in Santa Claus. I know it would have done us no harm, and made our Christmas’ even more a wonderment when we were little kids with stars in our eyes! The harsh reality of life didn’t need to be thrust upon us at such a young and tender age.
Dad always said, “I’m Santa Claus, and this year (as usual) Santa is broke!”
Below are some pros & cons I wrote a few years back on the subject of parents telling their children there is, or is not a SANTA CLAUS!
Telling children there is a fat man in a red suit living at the North Pole with his wife and a bunch of elves in little green suits who work diligently all year long to prepare gifts to be delivered on Christmas Eve to well-behaved little boys and girls is not harmful to children because:
It is a lovely fantasy to the creative and suggestive minds of adolescent children.
It is as equal and wonderful in a child’s make-believe world as reading Hans Christian Anderson books to them.
Children need less reality TV, and more light-hearted fun and activity in their early lives.
Children are too young to comprehend the true meaning of why Christians celebrate Christmas.
However, some people believe it is harmful because:
It is a lie that teaches children it is okay to be dishonest for the sake of fun and frivolity.;
It makes children insecure when they realize their own parents deceived them with the story of Santa Claus.
Children need to be prepared early for the reality of what awaits them as adults coping in the world.
If children are taught make-believe about celebrating Christmas, some Christians believe they won’t realize it is foremost a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, or that He truly existed.
Children are bright, alert, flexible little creatures that can readily discern the joy of illusion from true reality when reaching a certain age of maturity without holding a grudge against parents for creating wonderful memories of Christmas as a child.