Sunday, December 24, 2017

Yuletide Memories

“Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all people." ~ Luke 2:4
Christmas – a time of faith, hope, love and great memories.  As I sat quietly listening to our Pastor’s sermon, I closed my eyes and felt my eyes tear up allowing a flood of childhood, Christmas memories to wash over me.  Crying is sometimes how I understand myself best.
We were certainly not a wealthy family.  Yet, we were so rich in all life’s important things.
I remembered getting up on a bitingly cold, December morning and pulling on my oversized winter coat before heading outside with my Dad and brother to chop down a Christmas tree.  We usually picked a tree whose limbs could barely support the ornaments and lights when we decorated it.
Mom was in charge of setting up the ceramic nativity scene she’d hand crafted, with such respect and tenderness.  She’d always kiss the baby Jesus before setting it aside until Christmas Eve.
Mom sang along with the Christmas carols on the radio while she decorated the house.  I remember the peaceful look on her face whenever she sang, "Silent Night."
Christmas Eve dinner featured pastrami on rye with oyster (or potato) soup and freshly baked bread.  Dad placed a note for Santa on our front door so that he wouldn’t skip our empty house while we were at midnight Mass.
The service was a collection of singing, readings (in Latin), and a dual message: to praise God for sending His Son to earth, and to emphasize our responsibility to love one another.  I tried staying awake for the whole mass, but often fell asleep on Mom’s lap.
I remembered the eager anticipation of waiting to open my presents on Christmas morning.  They were few in number and never very expensive, but they always brought great joy to my heart.  I played with them for months and sometimes years to come.
Most of all, though, I remembered the unwavering love in that house.  It made every day feel like Christmas.  It was there in our hugs and smiles, laughter and tears, arguments and agreements, triumphs and tragedies.  Even when we moved from Webster Street, love followed us.  It gave me a hint of the love that God has for us all.  With it we felt like the wealthiest family on earth.
Christmas season is a special time of year.  It’s a time to connect with each member of your family, and create memories and traditions that your family and kids will remember when they’re older. Creating memories as a family also gives your children a secure foundation and understanding of their identity in the family and the importance of Christ’s birth.
May your life be full of loving memories at this Christmas and always.  And may you create new ones every single day.  Have a Blessed Christmas.
“This Christmas may you have … hot drinks by the fire, laughter to cheer you, and those you love near you, and all that your heart may desire.”  Amen  ~ Old Irish Prayer