Christmas Memories, Here and Now, and Long Ago

Well, it’s Christmas Eve and I’ve been wrapping all day. Not music wise. Gift-wise. My daughter Michelle has had four operations on her right arm and a skin graft as of Monday. So there is lots of stuff she has to have done for her — including wrapping all her gifts.

I finished most of mine a couple of days ago. Thought I was finished. I searched the bedroom, the closets, every cubby hole. No more stuff to wrap.

Just as I sat down to take a load off, I caught a glimpse of a bag under the coffee table. Yep. A few more there. It’s like when you do laundry. You’d think there are enough clothes to deck out Little Orphan Annie’s entire entourage. Then when you go looking for something to wear, you can’t find a single thing that’s appropriate. The same thing with Christmas. When it’s cleared away and it’s all over but the crying (adults, not kids), you wonder where all the money went.

Mike and I tried to take a break for lunch. Want to know what our Christmas Eve luncheon consisted of? Canned corned beef hash, refried beans and a slice of white bread. It was actually pretty good, but Mike’s food had to sit a while. Michelle’s Home Health nurse chose that moment to drive up and he had to demonstrate how to care for and bandage her arm. Since I’m diabetic and was going on my last red blood cell, I had to eat right then. Poor Mike.

When he got back in and sat down to his micro-heated hash and beans, he still had not lost his sense of humor.

“If the rednecks knew what we were having for lunch they’d drool with envy. All we need now is a can of sardines for dessert.”

Sounds tasty, doesn’t it?

I have been so awash in wrap and boxes and bags and ribbon and tags, my daughter-in-law Tammy cautioned Mike that he might have to dig down to find me pretty soon.

But it is done now. Even the dishes are washed, the floor vacuumed and scrubbed, and all the extraneous paraphernalia slung in a corner or on the table.

I’m sitting writing this at the moment, in peace and quiet before the storm breaks. My granddaughters Kayla and Montana are due back from Montana’s overnight. We’ll also do a couple of pre-Christmas gifts just to whet the appetite for tomorrow morning. This sounds so commercial, doesn’t it?

No. Yes. Okay. It’s actually just part and parcel of Christmas with family. And LOTS more to do when one of them has one bum arm that has to be taken care of and now a place on the leg where the skin graft came from that has to be seen to three times a day. I don’t think I’ve ever had a busier Christmas Eve day.

Katie’s doing the ham again this year. Got a big one from The Pig (that’s Piggly Wiggley to the uninitiated). Yep, we’ll have Dickey coming over tomorrow. You know, the ex-son-in-law. Our friend Natalie (you haven’t met her yet). Katie and Randy. Henry and Tammy, Michelle and Montana, and Mike and me. Let’s see. Count that up. One. Two. I make it ten people. How about you? I didn’t even have to count my toes for that one. Now I know how many glasses have to be iced at the appropriate time tomorrow.

And now I’ve got one last wrap to do. I’ve got to wrap this up. So let me mention the highlight of our Christmas Eve’s in times long gone by, when we lived in Georgia and Mike’s dad was still alive. All our kids were little then and every one of them sat in the floor at his feet to hear the story of Christmas. He would lay his Bible open on his knees and he always had his places marked. Of course Luke chapter two was a big highlight, but he also read from Isaiah — the prophecy of the Christ child.

While the Christmas lights shone through the darkness, he read to us about Jesus, the light of the world, who came as a gift to us from God. The Greatest Gift Ever Given. The shepherds saw the real angels in all their glory. We have to settle for a lighted one on top of the tree, but that’s okay. It reminds us of the real thing, which was so awesome those shepherds were blown away just by their presence. And then they sang. Man! Wouldn’t you have liked to be a fly on a stalk of wheat right then.

And we set up our manger scenes to remind us that THE King was born, and some super important men came over many desert miles by camel to find him and bring him gifts and worship him. These wise men were wise in the ways of literature, science, and life, and God let them know what to do.

Gosh, wouldn’t you have liked to talk to these men? I bet they knew about the great library of Alexandria. Probably even knew it personally. I think about these things when I see our little reminders set out on our side boards in our decorated homes.

What a glorious night that was. How worth all the hustle and bustle just to remember that First Christmas. That First Gift. Jesus. The Gift of Eternal Life.

Merry Christmas to all. And peace and good will from God’s heart to all humanity — to all who will reach out and accept that Gift.

Love to all,

Your friend, Linda




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