Sunday, 21 December 2014

Where Christmas memories are held

Twice daily - usually twice - I pass the house I grew up in. More often than not I take a quick glance in some sort of nostalgic way. Sometimes I'll remember mowing the 3/4's of acre by hand or the rare water fights Mom allowed us to have. (We were only allowed half a pail of water since our well was only 18 feet deep and running out of water was a constant summer threat.) I'll remember the annual pumping of our house's septic system that we greeted with disdain. Or, the chicken coop that required daily visits to collect the eggs, which my brother, Duane, and I had to sell on Saturday mornings. We arranged our egg delivery schedule so we could end up at our neighbour's house where we were always invited in to watch cartoons.

And lately, I've been thinking about Christmas times spent when I was young. Mom and Dad didn't have a lot to spend but they made sure there were gifts under the tree for all six kids. I remember my Dad pretending he was Santa Claus one Christmas and saying 'Ho-Ho-Ho' as he carried a brand new Dutch Sjoelbak game (Shuffle Board) up the stairs from our basement. I remember decorating the Christmas tree and throwing the silver icicles and hoping they land in an orderly fashion. (Do they still make those?) I remember having to wash the dinnertime dishes by hand before we could open the presents on Christmas Eve. There were times when Mom would read a Christmas story from The Calvinist Contact before we went to bed. I remember the wooden hockey sticks and pucks that were waiting in our bedroom when Duane and I woke up.

And, then there was the Christmas that we wrapped everything in sight! Since my brother and sister and I didn't have any money to buy gifts we looked for items that were more or less forgotten in our house and regifted them! We would've wrapped our cat, George, if he would have let us! We wrapped old books, or silverware (that's what we called cutlery back then), or mitts and hats that hadn't seen the light of day in years. Or old business cards. My brother found a stack of old business cards that my Dad hadn't used and wrapped them and gave them to him for Christmas. I can still hear the laughter and delight in Dad's voice. I think that gift was the most precious to him that year.

Christmas' seemed simpler back then - and it probably was. Christmas wasn't as commercialized as it is now - the stores were closed on Sundays...even the Sunday before Christmas!

We can't turn the clocks back. And, I don't even know if we'd want to if we could. We have new memories to create and frame. Our kids are now teenagers and we we're just reminiscing of past Christmas' not long ago. I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful for old memories and new memories. I'm thankful for Christmas' spent on Robson Road 'yesterday' and Centre Road 'today'.

Wishing you wonderful memories this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus!