Thursday, December 03, 2009
Thank you all for reading my Christmas Story blog and for all the nice words you wrote me about it. That was a Christmas memory from my adult life.
I also have sweet memories of childhood Christmases.
Even though I was the only child of a single parent, I was very fortunate to live next door to my grandparents. My mother was the middle child of ten and most of her brothers and sisters lived nearby. So it was easy for all the holidays of the year to be celebrated next door at my grandparents’ house. This continued even after they passed on, because both the oldest and youngest children of the family weren’t married and continued to live in the family home.
My mother and I decorated a tree in our little house. Sometimes a few of my cousins helped. Then I got to join in decorating the tree next door, where all the family gathered on Christmas Eve. We all exchanged little gifts. Before we began, we stood in the dark, with only the lights of the tree glowing, and sang Silent Night.
Sometimes we went to Midnight Mass; sometimes we went early Christmas Day. We were all in our own homes on Christmas morning, awaiting the arrival of Santa Clause, of course!
We had a small, red, pot-bellied Santa light. Santa was holding a globe with a long clear glass tube coming out of the top of it. It had water in it and once the light heated up, the water would bubble. When I went to bed on Christmas Eve, the only lights in the house were from the tree and the Santa light, and the single tiny light over the nativity scene we always set up. I loved holding all the tiny figures of Mary, Joseph, the Baby, and all the animals. I have a nativity set just like it even now.
I always woke up in the night, and tip-toed into the living room to peek under the tree and see if Santa had come. He ALWAYS beat me there and I would see the gifts he left, but wouldn’t touch them. I’d crawl back into bed and wake up the next morning, ready to open my gifts. Anticipation!
But the most special part was those lights glowing in the dark, the bubbling Santa, and me peeking at the magical gifts, all alone in the quiet darkness.
So, it’s the Mystery of Christmas I remember most. Not the gifts.