December 18, 2011

Yuletide Nostalgia

{Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance - each beautiful, unique and too soon gone.} Deborah Whipp

At this moment the snowflakes of my memories are falling heavily. It is a beautiful orchestrated dance as I wander about my house in a nostalgic haze.

I look at the tree and recall each year and the boxes of ornaments. Sorting through the broken ones, the old ones, new ones, beautiful ones, ugly ones, cherished ones has always been my favorite tradition. We always do it in the evening, the house dimly lit by our lamps, Christmas music brightly chiming out. My dad would be sitting nearby somewhere reading as my mom, my sisters and I laughed and sang our souls out. Mom would lift an ornament out of the old boxes, and cinematic memories would sweep through the room like whispers.

I gingerly lift my blown-glass ornaments and carefully, thoughtfully place them on the tree. Random associations whizz by as I recall the places they were purchased, the time spent at those places no longer visited. I recall the people who are associated with certain ones.

Soon these thoughts and memories will be carefully wrapped in tissue and stored away in my mind's attic. Crumbs and leftover tinsel thoughts will be swept into the cracks. I will not bring them out during the year-they do not belong in the rest of the year. It is odd and somehow uncomfortable to gaze on Christmas memories when the air is warm and the ground no longer white. For now I will enjoy them as they are strung about my mind like Christmas lights, pouring a warm glow upon my heart with their trifling brightness. My little snowflakes that will soon melt away until next year. And new ones will mix themselves in next year.

This will be one of them. This year I did not get to decorate the tree. It feels as if part of my Christmas had faded. As I walk about my house, something seems so out of reach. It is the tree. I do not know where the ornaments are placed on it, I do not know the laughs and smiles associated with each one. As I gaze upon the glowing tree, my joy is shadowed by a little bit of sadness.

But it is joy nonetheless. For I am home now, I am where I can go and the essence of myself is unquestioned. Not that being questioned is a bad thing, but sometimes we need rest, rejuvenation. Time to just revel in the joy of the light that Christmas sheds on our lives. For what more wondrous light than that of Christ? A King willing to abandon prosperity, the warmth and purity of heaven for the dirt, sin and temptations of this earth. There is no light so luminous as that of love, and His love is the most lustrous of all. Brighter than my memories. Brighter than every Christmas tree we've ever had put together. Brighter than the immensity of the sun.

That is what lights our hearts at Christmas. Not trees, not icicles, snowmen or candles. The snow, the tree, the ornaments, the stockings will all sit in the glow of this light as wonderful memories, treasured for all of my life. Maybe it is a little cliche, but no one ever said cliches were not the truth.

I hope you have a blessed holiday. May His light brighten the glow of your living rooms and kitchens. May you laugh and smile at the mishaps and jokes with full gusto! Merriest of Christmases!

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