Childhood Christmases

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”

Norman Vincent Peale

A neighbor shared some oranges with me today and that was all it took to send my mind back over seventy years to my childhood. My bus driver would give each of us an orange and a candy cane as he delivered us home for Christmas break. In my rural neighborhood, there was a man who became Santa and went house to house where there were kids. He had prearranged the visit with the parents so we received one gift that was something we had asked for. It worked well for small ones, but when Santa pulled my present out of the bag, I recognized the wrapping paper from the chest upstairs and the “jig was up.”

Of course, if I hadn’t been snooping around, my innocence might have been preserved a little longer.

When I read down the list of the so-called traditions of Christmas, I have experienced many of them. I have gone caroling and we always put on a Christmas play at church. We always had a real tree and if I close my eyes I can almost conjure the scent of pine. One of my memories of pine is a little different.

We had two very large pines behind our house on the edge of a field where we usually planted the garden. One day we came home from town after dark and as the headlights swung over our property my dad let out a yell. “What the Hell?” Someone had cut the entire top out of one of our pines. It was quite a feat considering the height of the tree!

Even though 2020 has been a tough year for everyone, I still sense a little excitement in the air as Christmas approaches. Masked people dart through the stores, being careful, but with a purpose in their steps. Secret bags of cookies or cards are being shared by thoughtful neighbors. When the big snow hit a couple days ago, many were out early to shovel and help clean the windshields for others. A kind gentleman shoveled paths through the snow in my neighborhood, so that the owners of small dogs could find a place for the pets to “go.”

When a Savior came to bring love and peace, He brought it for all. He is still showing the way even in 2020 if we have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts of love. Peace, love, and joy to all!

If I could give you just one thing,
I'd give you joy that would make your heart sing.
A joy and a peace that was brought to strangers,
When a young mother laid a babe in a manger.
ccousins

Preparing for Christmas

Advent means “Coming” in Latin. This is the coming of Jesus into the world. Christians use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas.

“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes…and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1942

Yesterday a friend and I felt we needed a little outing–to break the monotony of COVID-19 enforced restrictions. We decided that a walk-through of a favorite antique shop would be acceptable if those in the store were distancing and wearing masks. We peaked in and decided that the few people browsing were keeping their distance and were masked so in we went to see what wonderful items might appeal to use. There were plenty of Christmas decorations we remembered from 60 years ago at least. We shared memories that the old bulbs, etc. generated.

The picture below spoke to me and I had to bring it home to put on my desk. It symbolizes what I want my blog to be–a source of hope and good news and yes, silly rhymes at times. I see the upheaval and the misery of our country and of many people. I work where I can to help others and I try to stand up for what I believe. But I hope that people stop in and read something uplifting and not judgemental in my words.

Tree is up as you can see, saving the decorating till evening while I watch a Holiday movie!

Tell me about your decorating ideas and wishes for the season. (No poem this time) Some of you are probably saying, “good.”