Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's Christmas!!!

I've been a bit reflective at Christmastime this year. Well I guess I often am this time of year. Some might think I'd be sad this time of year, and I understand many people in this world are sad who have been through a lot in life. But I'm not sad, just reflective. I think of the past, my memories, traditions, times with family and friends. I have had such great memories, and Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of year. My traditions have changed, and seem to continue to change with each passing year now, as my family has changed. However, I can still look at the past with peace and joy.

I was putting up my big artificial Christmas tree earlier this month, pulling it down in various pieces from the attic, carrying boxes of lights and decorations and ornaments downstairs. I had my Christmas music playing loudly on my computer. It reminded me of when I was younger; my mom and I would always put up the artifical Christmas tree and all the trimmings, and we'd always have Christmas music playing. Except instead of the music playing on the CD player or on the computer as I did this month, we played records on a record player. No, really. I realize that makes me sound WAY older than I am, but we had a record player for several years, complete with records that actually worked!

We would also put lights up outside, on the stairs and along the house, over the doors, around the lightpost, hanging wreaths, adding other items annually like an outdoor nativity scene and candycanes and snowmen. I still feel like my house isn't completely decorated for the holiday season unless I have my outdoor lights up and working too. Usually, we wouldn't get around to putting up the lights until it was really cold out, and then we'd come in and warm up, and have hot chocolate. This year, I took advantage of some late November warmer weather and put the lights up then- it worked great!

The time we have set aside to have Christmas as a family has changed over time, as our family changes. We used to always have a big family dinner, complete with evening desserts, cookies, etc., on Christmas Eve. Stockings would be dug into on Christmas Day morning.

Later at night we would always go to our church's evening candlelight and carols service. I've kept that part of the tradition nearly every year, going to church late Christmas Eve, singing many traditional carols, seeing familiar faces in the flickering lights of candles, some friends home from far away or from school. The last carol was always "Silent Night". Every one would sing it, a capella, and at the end we would all blow out our candles. There was always silence for a moment or two afterwards, as if everyone was holding the magic of the moment, the silence and the holy night. Then the lights would gradually come up.

Later, after the service, I'd catch up with old friends, as most people my age would do. Small groups were dispersed throughout the sanctuary, hugs were freely given, many smiles shared. We would all enjoy our time together and our mini-reunions.

While I didn't attend the service this year because of my schedule and family plans, I felt like I was there in spirit. I remembered in detail how the previous years' services had been, how it was so comfortable and fun to be in a place where I knew so many people. And I remember it with joy.

Though so many things change every year, I will just remember with joy what past Christmases have held. Perhaps you too will be reminded of some of your past Christmases and cherished memories. I wish you a blessed Christmas season.

No comments: