Christmas season is always a time of memories. For some the memories are filled with warmth and joy, for others sadness and pain. I wonder each year, if my memories are clouded by my perception; a dream rather than reality. Does it matter?
This year I find myself missing my childhood Christmases. I long to read Twas the Night Before Christmas to my parents and siblings, as we sit around the tree, trying to guess what might be in the packages and wondering if we will hear Santa coming down the chimney this year.
There was never a question about the reality of Santa - we knew his love and generosity existed around the world, in every country and community. It was not about the presents he brought, it was about the feeling of joy, excitement, love, giving and receiving. It seemed that the season provided enough fuel to power those feelings through out the year.
Christmas day brought with it the aroma of roasting turkey and cranberries simmering on the stove. Mom had spent many weeks baking Christmas cakes, gingerbread, potato candy (exquisite homemade chocolates), pull taffy and sugar cookies. My sweet tooth was finally satisfied, as on this day, there was no reprimands for eating too much of my favorite foods.
I don't really remember the gifts, though socks, pajamas and perhaps a new outfit were always part of the tradition. There was a favorite doll ( a nurse named Elizabeth) a pair of skate warmers, and a manicure set my father had chosen for me.
How I miss those days. This year more than ever, I wish for a hug from my parents, to spend time around the tree, listening to Carols, and watching A Christmas Story in black and white. Though I am with my daughter, I realize that somehow I created a different Christmas Spirit with her, and though we still believe in Santa, and listen to Carols, materialism has snuck in where love used to be. She is now 20 and I wonder what kind of Christmas she will create for her children when they arrive.....
Celebrating the birth of Christ, has so much meaning for me. At the age of 13 there was nothing I wanted more than to see everyone around me be happy and peaceful. There seemed to be so much sadness in my life. As I walked along my usual route, one evening, listening to the frogs, enjoying the cool summer breeze, I felt the presence of Jesus walking with me, supporting me. I made a promise then, that if he would always walk with me, I would do everything in my power to spread love and joy out into the world.
There are times when lonliness creeps up on me, and I look around wondering where the support I think I need has gone, then I remember that night, the promise and the strength that was given to me.
So this year at Christmas I want to send love to the parents who gave me life. Thank you for your unconditional love, and the memories of Christmas, celebrating the birth of the Spirit that gives us all life.
May all of you be blessed with the Spirit of Christmas, not just for the season, but throughout the year.