Perhaps it was our reading of Dickens' which once again has me thinking of previous Christmas seasons. It may have been the ponderings which occur when one goes through years of memories as I had to do yesterday. Whatever it was that sparked some of them, I have enjoyed a walk down memory lane.
I was once again remembering the most magical of Christmas evenings, one I knew when I was living it that it would long be impressed in my memory. I mentioned it before, the evening of Christmas shopping in downtown Holland, Michigan. It looked for all the world like I was in one of those snow globes that had been shaken and the snow was falling softly on the quaint street.
Lake effect snow has the tendency toward large flakes that do not fall upon you but they literally seem to dance through the air and tease you until they land on coat collars, mittens, and hats. Quite lovely when one is walking past Christmas lights and Holiday displays "downtown". Not so lovely when one has to drive home but that is another story...
I have always enjoyed finding the perfect Christmas gift for loved ones. Quite often, their gift has been purchased long before the Season is upon us when I came upon that "just right" gift during the year. I always kept my ears open to a comment made, perhaps just in passing, that would indicate a longed for item within my budget.
That evening my husband and I had driven downtown together and then parted to do our separate shopping. My daughter was at the age where I knew a lovely sweater would be in order, definitely a book or two from Pooh's Corner and I'm certain there was a stop for a few more stocking stuffers. I remember the evening being surrounded by red, green, and blue Christmas lights; the softer white of corner street lamps; the displays in store windows created to draw one into the warmth behind doors; cobblestone streets; laughter all around...yes, sometimes there are glimpses of Heaven on this Earth and Goodwill toward Mankind. Once in awhile, we are blessed with such evenings as this.
Another memory is one I wasn't even a part of when it happened. On one side of my refrigerator, next to kitchen cabinets and my small microwave, there is just enough room to tape some precious pictures (my father in his younger days, a late 1960s photo of my mother and I taken at one of those booths which cost 25cents, a birthday card sent from my daughter, a picture taken of my son and his sister at Christmas when he was a baby, and...an index card on which is taped a tag from a Christmas present with the words For: Snoop From Deviousness and Cloaker.
The two of them had driven to Sagatuck (in near blizzard conditions I later learned!) to purchase a gift certificate for me at my favorite gourmet shop. That was the tag on the package which held the gift. Long after the gift I purchased with the certificate was gone (broken in a move if I remember), I have that tag which I love far more than even the gift. For it brings memories of the fun those two had in shopping for my presents and memories that Dad and Daughter brought to this Mom. Not to mention that I may have forgotten for years I was Snoop and they were Deviousness and Cloaker. (I refuse to answer how I got the nickname of Snoop.)
Those are the true memories of Christmas. We may remember certain gifts (as I remember a special doll as a child) but mostly we remember the people. As with these memories, they bring great joy. Other memories bring pain and sadness of loved ones gone or Christmas seasons spent alone.
I wonder at times if that is not the reason He has made Christmas. We know December 25th was probably not the date of His birth but that's not the only thing Christmas is about. It's about Light in Darkness and it doesn't get a lot darker than late December. Advent is the time of remembering why He came and what He did for us on Easter. Remembering seems to come easier this time of year. Life is a mixture of good and bad but all are to draw our thoughts toward Him.