By Mary Bridges, Salina Presbyterian Manor chaplain
Christmas is a nostalgic time of year for me when the smell of banana bread in the oven, and Christmas decorations made by family and friends take me back to my childhood. Twinkling lights, and the good cheer and warmth of spirit in the atmosphere bring bittersweet memories of Christmas past. Back then I didn’t make a list of what I wanted for Christmas and in fact don’t even remember telling my parents what I wanted. This year as I have been pondering on past Christmases I realized that I can only remember two of my Christmas gifts.
When I was about ten or eleven I received an awesome doll, named Susie Walker. By holding on to her harm she actually walked, well in a doll sort of way. When I was 17, my gift was a full-length grey fake-fur coat. I have never figured out why my mom bought it for me. Actually, I never really liked it.
As I thought about it I realized that what I remember most about past Christmas celebrations is not what I received, but who was there. Growing up meant that every other Christmas my five siblings and our children gathered at Mom and Dad’s to celebrate. Laughter and the fun of just being together are the memories I now treasure.
The electric race car set my husband bought for our daughter’s first Christmas was enjoyed by the men. I treasure a picture of them in the basement sharing a drink as they set-up the race track. One year when I children were small I wrapped all their packages and put Lisa’s name on Todd’s packages and Todd’s name on Lisa’s package. They shook and tried to see through the wrapping (that was a trick of mine when I was a child so I bought wrapping that you couldn’t see through) but couldn’t figure out what they were getting. After the packages were passed out I said, “Stop, there’s been a mistake and your names were somehow mixed up.”
My prayer for you this Christmas season is that your memories will be sweet and as your memories of past Christmas’s will bring a smile to your face and the warmth of remembrances to your heart. May you have a Christmas that lives every day in your heart and in your life. I invite you to ponder the words of these Christmas Beatitudes:
Blessed are they who find Christmas in the age-old story of a babe born in Bethlehem.
To them a little child will always mean hope and promise to a troubled world.
Blessed are they who find Christmas in the Christmas star.
Their lives may ever reflect its beauty and light.
Blessed are they who find Christmas in the joy of giving lovingly to others.
They shall share the gladness and joy of the shepherds and wise men of old.
Blessed are they who find Christmas in the fragrant greens, the cheerful holly
and soft flicker of candles.
To them shall come bright memories of love and happiness.
Blessed are they who find Christmas in the happy music of Christmas time.
They shall have a song of joy ever singing in their hearts.
Blessed are they who find Christmas in the message of the Prince of Peace.
They will ever strive to help him bring peace on earth, good will to men.