Dear Beautiful Friends,
These past couple of weeks turned busier than we'd planned. Not so much with getting ready for Christmas, but life events, one of which affected someone we love dearly. As a result, as you can see, my plan to write something every day during Advent didn't always pan out. But that's okay.
Now here it is... one of my most favourite days of the year has arrived. Ever since I can remember, just thinking about December 24th can give me little shivers of joy and delight, as these days are so entwined in those wondrous memories I have of Christmas Eve as a young child.
One such memory has stayed constant over the years. And, when I look back, it has become the
guidepost, the essence, of what I think of as as the beauty and wonder of Christmas. Hope you enjoy.
IT WAS JUST A FEW days before Christmas (as a child those days seemed longer than long). The air outside was frostier than icicles hanging from the eaves of a barn, but inside the
welcome breath of air from the old coal furnace filled the house with warmth.
It was dark out and Mom was preparing supper in the
kitchen.Otherwise it was quiet in our
little farmhouse. I'd settled myself on the little green couch, perfectly content in the peaceful
ambiance of our front room which was lighted only by the glow of a strand of round sugar-glass tree lights. I felt safe
and cozy; my world looked beautiful as I stared dreamily into the swirling glass balls and glimmering ribbons of tinsel.
In this contemplative mood, I thought
about the pictures I saw on holiday greeting cards ... artists’ renditions of
little towns of Bethlehem
with midnight skies and
light streaming from tiny earthen windows.
I mused about the shepherds who were the first to hear angels heralding
good tidings. And of course, I wondered
about this Baby Jesus I'd heard about and envisioned him asleep in a manger where cows and sheep ate lunch.
I also wondered how I could possibly
contain my girlish excitement, the happiness of being five or six or seven
with only a couple of sleeps left till Christmas Eve. It was almost as if my body would burst with anticipation. Not only at the
thought of finally opening those intriguing parcels under evergreen boughs, but the last minute flurry of
practicing my lines of poetry and trying to remember the words of old carols not quite
familiar for the upcoming Christmas Eve Concert.
Finally...finally it would arrive and it was time to pile into the family
car. Bumping along on frozen, square tires, we'd arrive at the brightly lit
clapboard church two miles into town. We
clamoured into the church to find our friends. The
building was abuzz and packed with people. Adults tried to keep order in the basement, until antsy kids, showing off
new Christmas outfits, finally got the word, “It’s time to start the procession.”
Before we knew it, we’d all be warbling the
last notes of We Wish You a Merry
Christmas and annual event of receiving a candy
bag -- paper lunch bags bulging with chocolates and candies and peanuts, as well as the treasured
‘Christmas orange’ brought all the way from that faraway place called Japan.
These old memories wrap themselves
around me as cozily as soft, furry slippers. Many decades later, when I try
to get in the Christmas spirit, it’s the essence of these memories that I’m
always trying to catch. I've learned over the years that if I don't strive to find it, they will come. They always have, and I think they always will.
On that note, here's wishing you a beautiful Christmas Eve,