A memory is defined as "a mental impression retained; a recollection." Some memories make us smile. Some make us shake our heads. Some make us cry. And some just make us think.
Christmas is one of those times of the year when you expect memories to be made. Our house, at Christmas, was always THE most wonderful time of the year. Mom loves Christmas...LOVES. Dad does too, but not quite with the same gusto as mom. And I have come to love Christmas just like mom. I don't really know about my siblings but I seem to be more like mom in the buying gifts department and Mark is more like dad ("let's give intangible gifts like love...."). I had a friend tell me that is hard for Scrooge (Mark in this story) to hang out with Santa (me) especially in December! HaHa!!! Christmas always meant mounds of presents under the tree, egg and sausage casserole for breakfast and Kenny and Dolly singing "I Believe in Santa Claus" as we bounded down the steps to see what Santa did in fact bring us. Mom and Dad, thank you for all of the memories you have provided all of us and thank you for always emphasizing the true meaning of Christmas. I love you!
I asked my siblings to share their fondest Christmas memories with me. So here it goes.
First up: Leigh Ann
My favorite Christmas memory in our house growing up can be summed up in one word - anticipation. Christmas was counting down the days with the felt "pin the ornament on the Christmas tree" advent calendar...Christmas was seeing the number of present under the Christmas tree grow astronomically (as each pair of socks was wrapped separately!)...Christmas was cookies and lights and hot chocolate and Christmas specials on TV...Christmas was the candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve...and finally, Christmas was waking up in the morning hours before we could wake up our parents and literally counting every second until..... Thanks Mom & Dad! It's still Christmas like this at your house :)
Next is Anonymous:
I have many wonderful Christmas memories. The Christmas season was always a magical time in our home...almost as special as the 4th of July!! My parents went overboard every single year...even the year we moved from Germany back to the United States and had to spend Christmas morning at Grandma's. There were always special touches (notes from Santa, thoughtful gifts, big surprises); we always enjoyed a big, fancy meal; and we always went to the movies on Christmas Day. But my favorite Christmas morning is actually the one where I ruined Christmas. I was 3rd or 4th grade, maybe 8 or 9 years old. We were forbidden to come downstairs on Christmas morning before my parents. They had to set up cameras and make the coffee (not necessarily in that order I have learned!) before we could see what Santa brought.
Well, this particular year, I woke up insanely early and was too excited to sleep. No one else was up, so I decided to take a peek to see if Santa had come. I crept downstairs, surveyed the goods, and discovered that Santa had brought me an extra special present that required my presence in the basement. I was feeling a little guilty about breaking the rules, but instead of turning around and heading back to bed and not fully ruining the surprise of Christmas morning, I went on down to the basement, too! Shockingly, I found the most fabulous balance beam that a young budding Nadia Comaneci could own in her own home!! WOW! I completely didn't see that one coming! I certainly hadn't asked for that -- who would ask for a balance beam? That's like asking for a pony - you just know you aren't going to get it. And then it hit me. This was the most fabulous present Santa had EVER brought me. How was I going to feign surprise in a couple of hours? The details of my acting performance later that morning are not important; I'm not sure anyone knew - or maybe they did and they just let me stew in my own guilt all day. What I do remember is feeling positively AWFUL all day, and the next, and the next...and so on...every time I stood on that beam. I was a Christmas fraud - a greedy child too impatient to wait. I never made that same mistake again, but I have never forgotten that feeling.
My walk with Jesus often feels fraudulent in the same way. I want what I want; I want to see it early and know what's coming; and I want it to please me. But that's not at all how Jesus works. He is constantly reminding me to be patient, to not worry about tomorrow, to wait on Him. And I find myself feeling like a little girl on Christmas morning when He presents His gift of love, forgiveness and abundant blessing on my undeserved life. Perhaps that is why my favorite Bible verse is Ephesians 1:3 - God reminding me that He has already given me all that I need in the person of Jesus Christ. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." (Ephesians 1:3-6) (and now it would be appropriate to also apologize to my mom, who is no doubt mad at me after reading this...sorry! I DID learn my lesson!)
And last but not least...Bobby.
I don't think I have a favorite Christmas memory!
I can honestly say that I do not remember one specific Christmas at all...it seems like they all run together. I mean, I can think back on when I got a game or something like that, but I can't remember how old I was or how much it really meant to me. I mean, this is sad, but from 1993 to 2003, I don't remember any of our Christmases...
Give me some prompts from your mind to see if it jars my brain at all so I can remember some of the Christmases...
It's sad on my end that I can't remember.
Seriously, Bobby--ten years of no memories--you might should look into that.
What is YOUR favorite Christmas memory?