Christmas Memories

janatchristmas1Why do we run ourselves ragged before the Christmas holidays? Why do we shop until we drop? Decorate the house inside and out? Fret over new Elf on the Shelf locations?

Because we have wonderful Christmas memories of family gatherings at grandmother’s house, toys from Santa under the tree, church pageants and choir concerts, and volunteers at red kettles ringing bells in the cold.

My cousin recently posted an old home video on Facebook and these memories came flooding back. There, in color but with no sound except music someone had added later, were grainy movies of Christmas in the 1950’s. In a line, my family entered the back porch where the tree and presents were displayed: my grandfather and grandmother, five of their six children and spouses (my mom and dad included), my great-aunts, and my little cousins.

How times have changed. Each woman wore a dress or skirt and blouse, very formal compared to today. Not a pair of blue jeans in the house! (I didn’t buy my first blue jeans until I was a freshman in college.) The tree was covered in silver tinsel. I don’t think you can buy that any longer. My boy cousins played with new toy guns. My girl cousins and I hugged our big dolls.

The most poignant moment of the movie was the very end. My grandparents, father and his brother and sisters gathered together to sing. I wish I knew what they were singing. I wish I had a recording of it, because music was so important to that family. My grandfather started a marching band in his hometown, my father was a band director, my aunt played organ at church. They were a family of The Depression. They didn’t have much back then, but it was evident that they had each other. They were bound together by their love for each other and the joy of music.

On this Christmas so many years removed from those treasured home movies, I wish you and yours the same joy of family and friends. May you be blessed this season and in the year to come.

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