Wednesday, December 2, 2009

CHRISTMAS PAST

How is your December progressing?

Remember when we were kids and all the presents were opened, papers and boxes strewn from corner to corner? Parents exhausted from preparations, Mom probably headed to the kitchen to begin Christmas dinner, Dad watched TV while waiting for football. Or what ever your family's personal scenario was at the time? Anti climatic; yet, a surfeit of gifts, plans, short-lived childish glee had filled the morning. Does any of this ring a memory bell in your mind?

Christmas viewed with the eyes of childish wonder (do young children still experience awe and wonder at the lights and the 'hush' of Christmas?) is much different that the often tired and jaded eyes of the adults who provide the ambiance of the season.

I remember, fondly, Lori and her sisters whispering in corners. Christmas evening we, the parents, were ordered to the couch to behold the annual show. Lori was five years older than her middle sister and the 'baby' was 16 months younger than the middle sister. Oh, and there was a very large Black Standard Poodle, the fourth 'child.' Charlie!

In spite of the fact that we had attended at least 2 different Schools Christmas presentations; we always had the Lori Production in the living room. A production that involved that whispering, giggling, sprinkling of disagreement and borrowing of pieces of clothing, a sheet for a curtain, make up! Even wigs were known to be needed; even if it had served as a clown wig for Halloween. So what if one of the 'kings' had bushy, orange hair (can you spell Ronald McDonald?)

The parents, seated on the couch, waited while Lori, the pianist, director, and Narrator began the Christmas Show. BB the quietest, youngest (sneakiest) was always the angel. Krissie the compliant took the part assigned to her (and also was forced by big sister to do the cleanup because her nickname was, Debbie Domestic). Charlie was the largest and blackest lamb to visit the baby Jesus (who one year was a Troll ~ Do you remember those dolls?).

The hardest part for the parents was to not roll on the couch in laughter because the whole show was meant to be very serious. But the Angel was so proud of her ruffled panties that she turned; and, "whoopsie doooed" in a pretty good imitation of a Follies Bergere can-can. The lamb had a sudden urge to clean his nether parts, which horrified the middle sister who began to scratch, the stress of the moment causing her atopic eczema to attack. The narrator found none of this acceptable being the typical Libra searching for justice. The ego-centric director glared with cat green eyes causing even the lamb to become compliant and the show continued without alarm to the end!

Of course, by this time Charlie had finally rid himself of the sign around his neck that said, "lamb". And, Krissies make up was running down her cheeks with threatening tears. (a tender soul, she). BB, oblivious to all, in her Virgo perfectionism, glided off towards her room to play with her 3 foot Poo bear. Wild applause from the parents with many kudos and pats on the back did not quell the pique of Big Sister who, annually, felt the cast could have done better!

There would not have been a tree except for Mom and Lori. Wait, there may have been a tree but Mom was the one who went to find the tree that "spoke to her." That did not mean that a perfect tree followed her home. One had to be tied in a corner and it was forever named, "Mom's Charlie Brown tree." Lori was the official decorator and she enjoyed her position with possessive gusto. Dad, grumbling a bit, was in charge of getting it set up in the living room.

Christmas now, without children or grandchildren about is barren. Our church is filled by old people and our "youth group' is populated by those over 60! There is no Christmas Program as such. This is not to say that we do not enjoy Christmas Eve services; but a childless Christmas leaves a lot to be desired. No stockings to be hung, no midnight gift wrapping.

This also does not speak to the real reason for Christmas; but even that is wistful. A babe in the manger, a baby who was born to die so that you and I could have peace with God and on earth when He is acknowledged. A star in the sky pointed the way to the world's Savior. There would be no Christmas without the babe. A few years ago, I wrote a short devotional. It came from my heart, a 73 year-old heart that is still filled with awe and wonder in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.

Christmas is where secular and sacred meet,
where the star of the magi, the shepherds,
David's star intersect.

The secular display stirring the spirit,
causing mankind to seek the reason for his heart's
dis-ease, and unrest. - B. Davis 2004







11 comments:

Jane Eborall said...

Oh, what a happy Christmas with the kids. I remember (sometimes) being able to visit my cousin's house where their dad (although we pretended we didn't know!) dressed up as Santa.

Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, Bev! You're right, Christmas is different without children around. Thankfully, our house will be overflowing with grandchildren this year!

Katie said...

Oh, thanks sooooooooo much for that!! There are no children at our house this year, the tree wasn't even going to be put up. I was dreading the shopping...

Thanks for bringing me back & grounding me in what it really is all about!! That tree will go up after all. The cat will find her peaceful spot to nap under it, the gifts will start amassing under it, & I'll stop in front of it before going to bed every night to enjoy the peace & say a prayer.

Fox said...

Nicely written, Bev. Your recollections of past Christmases with your girls was touching and nostalgic.
♥ Fox : )

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

WONDERFUL post Grams! You are such a talented writer that I could picture everything in my head. I too suffer from the childless Christmas. I think holidays are especially made for kids.

Ridgetatter said...

It is a real gift, to the author,when something written touches a heart and perhaps, in some small way, blesses the reader.

I'm so glad for Diane that she has a home overflowing with grandchildren ~ what a blessing!

I loved Christmas as a child;the secrets, getting something special for mommy and daddy. The stores all decorated and they played Christmas music then..yes Jane, those childhood memories stick with us.

Thank you for the compliments on my writing. If I weren't so lazy, there would have been a lot of writing in my life. Isn't it odd, I was only prolific when I had writing classes and had to produce a piece as a deadline? I have always loved writing and am better at that than making small talk; which I do not do well at all ~ being rather introverted and yes (don't faint) shy. Given to observation and not so much at participation, people are generally surprised to learn that I write pretty serious stuff from time to time. LOL

I suppose, if I had to list regrets at this end of my lifespan, I'd regret not having written more ~ a legacy to those who come after to read the thoughts of a different generation.

God Bless you one and all! Jesus IS the reason for the season (even if that has become an over-used phrase; and, thus become 'meaningless' rhetoric to most).

XXX BJ

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

I remember seeing those sorts of Christmases you mention. It seems so long ago -- do children still put on plays for their parents? I guess they must -- the Wheel turns -- but I miss many of the old things, even though I had a childhood of sadness. Still, I miss the past. Thanks for the beautiful, evocative capturing of your Christmases when your children were little.

Tatskool said...

I enjoyed reading that so much. So many happy memories to keep you going.
Isn't that true for all of us. Thanks for sharing your Christmas past.

Sally Kerson said...

A Christmas with children has come and gone for me too, my children are adults now and will be in Australia and Singapore so we will not even see them. No grandchildren either. I can particularly relate to the church congegation, although we do have a particular service on Christmas Eve that is packed with children (sadly only a once a year does this happen) its called a Christingle Service. Tomorrow we are having an Advent Quiet Day to reflect and prepare ourselves spiritually. Thank you for your piece of devotional writing. Christmas is indeed where secular and sacred meet Perhaps you should write more, and what better place than on a blog.

tattrldy said...

Lovely post! Brought back a lot of memories. This year it looks if both our children and families (2 grandkids!) will be at our house Christmas night. It will be great to have little ones there for Christmas. You are so right about how different Christmas feels without childred there so we can watch their wonder of the season.
May you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

madhur said...

What a vivid description! It was as if I were there personally. Your happiness is infectious Bev. May you ehjoy each and every moment of your life with the family.