“Tell us about five Christmas memories you have,” says Jan at RevGalBlogPals, who must be just as frazzled as I am by now. One of the reasons I’m feeling as though it will never all get done in time is just that – since I’ve been trying to blog Christmas memories as well as post readings of Christmas stories, and I’m three and two days behind, respectively. I’ll share some briefly, and you can read my “Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories” posts for more.
.1. Waking up on Christmas morning 26 years ago. Not just waking up, but realizing that labor was beginning and the doctors had been right – our third child would be a Christmas baby. I woke my husband and the older children (not unusual, I’m always the first one up that day), we had stockings and then brought them, still in their new pajamas, to their grandparents’ house and went to the hospital. At 1:30 pm we got our best Christmas present. Big sister and Bedstemor meet her for the first time in this photo. Note the stocking in which she was presented, which became her birthday stocking.
2. The skating Santa. A week or two before the above events, I was feeling a bit nervous about the upcoming addition to our family and how we would all deal with it – financially and otherwise. I worked downtown then, in a job-sharing situation where I worked all day, every other day. One day I was riding the bus home and as we passed Peavey Plaza, near Orchestra Hall, where there was a skating rink, I saw Santa Claus walk up to the rink, remove his boots and put on ice skates, and begin skating. It was such a lovely sight that it made me feel everything would be all right, and it was.
3. A starring role. Our first child and only son was a June baby, so on his first Christmas he was the perfect age to portray the infant Jesus in our church Christmas pageant. As we then lived in a farming community, the manger was handmade and filled with real hay. SonShineIn did a great job – no crying he made, but waved his hands and feet charmingly. I just hope that hay wasn’t what gave him hay fever!4. Christmas Eve church. Specifically, the 5:30 pm service during the years when we had many responsibilities both at home and in church – after my in-laws moved to Wisconsin and we began hosting the Christmas Eve dinner, and while spouse and daughters sang in the choirs and I read the children’s story. It was always a rush to get there on time for choir warmups, while making sure the dinner preparations were well underway; snow and cold often complicated things. The beginning of the service would find me still jittery, but once I had read my story I was filled with a sense of peace and contentment. I could enjoy the beautiful music, the candles and poinsettias, the lighted tree and pews crowded with festively-dressed friends and their visiting families, and best of all that moment when our minister read the words: “In the beginning was the Word….”
5. A special gift. In 1964, my father was transferred to Stuttgart, Germany by the Army and we, of course, went with him. We arrived in August and by Christmas, although I was making some new friends, I was missing the friends I’d left behind a lot. My friend The Boss sent me a Christmas present which was probably the start of my large and still-growing collection of Christmas literature. It was the beautiful little paperback edition of Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales. I’m not sure I was even aware of that piece before then, although I did know of Dylan Thomas. It seems that each year, there is one gift received or given that stands out in the memory, and for that year, this is the one.