A Christmas PastI can remember how wonderful the Christmases of my past were, and the warmth and love for the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was the reason for the season. His birth was a joyous time and a very happy event. We would sing carols, hymns and songs that were uplifting and inspired hope. There was significance in the rainbow of colors which filled every hall and every celebration party. There were streamers and banners, even balloons, professing "Merry Christmas", "Unto Us a Savior is born", and many other words which kept us focused on the reason for the season.
I'm thinking out loud because my heart is disturbed. When did our churches become so sophisticated that they removed the color and the reason for the season? When did the celebration turn into a somber event of black and white or muted colors, all to do with color scheme and not the happiness of this time of the year? When did the Christmas tree become obsolete, and the lights and festive energy become a dark and dismal event with folks queuing up to eat and leave? Maybe I was standing at the doorway of the wrong place, and looking at a new expression of joy...hmm felt joyless. Yes there was chatter, and most were resplendent in their very best dark garb, but where was Christmas? Maybe fashion and design has managed to push things in a different direction, or maybe I'm on a different street, and its time to seek the lights of Christmas past.
I thought the Grinch had won. All the signs were there, and just look at the results. Thankfully I am awake, and I can remember a time when gatherings and celebrations were less about 'a look' and more about 'the life'. I will share a memory I shared last year with you. You don't need much to celebrate at Christmas, you can be happy with whatever you are blessed to have!
A Childhood MemoryMy mother did not believe in hording. Throughout the year she would sew and make most of our new clothes on weekends - the others were from the 'jumble sales'(previously used clothes) she visited. Christmas though was a time to clear out the closets and the 'hand-me-down' saga began!
As the second child new was a novelty experienced mainly during the Christmas season. we were encouraged help fold and pack the clothes after washing to take to the nearest orphanage. When my mom was sick we were sent there for a few months, which included a Christmas. I must have been around six at the time.
I can remember all the little beds in the dormitory for girls separated by a mini cabinet. I thought it was fun to stay there with the nuns while my mom recovered from her illness. She was a teacher at a Catholic School and they took care of their own! We lived with rules, shared clothes and sometimes sadness. That Christmas my dad came from wherever he was and visited. To my little mind, I thought Santa had sent him early for me. He left after a brief visit and I thought that's what dads did for a long time. Still I was happy, in this big clean beautiful place where nuns ruled but loved us.
The only time Santa visited me was at that orphanage from my recollections! He came on the firetruck and gave everyone hugs and 'big' gifts! Can't remember what I got but it was good.
We went to church on Christmas day and had our toys blessed in prayer, and an opportunity to show -off I think!
I can also draw from the depths of my memories the treasured feeling of love, hope and happiness whatever the circumstances. Whenever I think of Christmas I think of giving, and have had to learn how to receive. There is so much joy in being the giver, it makes receiving pale in comparison. Yet, the real joy in giving is a happy receiver. Thus the meeting of a child and a woman has finally joined, to understand Christmas!
When the world changes, we must adapt without losing the joy and the beauty of the Christmas season.
Have a Merry Christmas!