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Christmas Memories


These people we once knew are not just echoes of voices that have years since ceased to speak, but saints in the sense that through them something of the power and richness of life itself not only touched us once long ago, but continues to touch us still.Frederick Buechner

It happens every Christmas. I get nostalgic.

Perhaps it is the music.

Whenever those old familiar carols play, sweet memories come flooding over me...like the year that my family decided to surprise my grams and gramps in Pennsylvania with an unexpected Christmas visit.

I can still remember it like it was yesterday.

Scurrying around the house like Christmas mice in the darkness of the early morning hours, packing the car with gifts, travel games and suitcases. It was such delicious fun!

When the long stretches through Indiana and Ohio began to curb even a child's enthusiasm, we broke the monotony by singing. Dad taught us how to harmonize so we could sing in four parts; my sis sang the melody, I sang alto, mom baritone and dad sang bass. It was amazing how fast time flew by singing every Christmas carol and jingle you can think of!

By the time we reached the Pennsylvania border it was snowing. Heavily. Snowflakes as big as quarters fell from the sky. The tree branches were laden with snow, creating white arches over the road for us to pass under. I was sure we had entered Winter Wonderland.

When we finally reached my grandparents' house, we tiptoed as quietly as we could up to the front door and began singing the Christmas songs we had practiced over the many miles. As soon as my gramps heard us, he made a beeline for the kitchen to load up a plate of Christmas goodies and opened the door fully expecting to see the neighbors out caroling.

I can still see the look on his face. Tears shimmered in his eyes...and our eyes too.

Whenever I hear those old familiar carols play, my mind wanders back to Winter Wonderland...to Pennsylvania...to the look on my sweet grandpa's face...and tears shimmer in my eyes still.

Perhaps it is the music...

But, then again, it might be the scent of Christmas cookies wafting in the air.

Just one whiff of Christmas cookies in the oven triggers memories of days long past when my mom, sis and I used to whip up batches of cookies with hysterical giggling sprinkled in for good measure. Or the years spent in my mother-in-law's warm, cozy kitchen where a tradition of Christmas cookie-baking took root and continues still, though she now bakes cookies in heaven with Jesus.

Perhaps it is the scent of Christmas cookies...

Or maybe it is snow on the ground.

The first heavy snowfall of the season always transports me to back to Christmas's spent sledding with my cousins...and my Grandma O. Sledding with my grandma was not for the faint of heart. She was full of shenanigans. One of her favorite ways to fly down a high hilltop was what she termed, "sandwich-style," with her laying on her stomach on a toboggan with the rest of us cousins stacked on top. Shrieks of laughter filled the air as we whizzed our way to the bottom... my grandma o's being the loudest.

Maybe it is the snow on the ground...

Or maybe it is all that and something more...

Oh yes, it is so much more…

Christmas, above all, reminds me of Jesus.

When God's love came down at Christmas, we, too, through faith, have the hope of heaven. Memories are not all that we have to cling to. We will one day enjoy one another's company again...with tears shimmering in our eyes... the scent of heaven heavy in the air and laughter resounding as we celebrate our precious reunion—all because of Jesus.

Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise. Karl Rahner

What memories of Christmas do you most cherish? How does the hope of heaven encourage your heart as we await that blessed reunion? 

The Path to Pondering
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


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