It is almost time for Christmas! It is time for the last minute rush and the kitchen ovens to be fired up. I love Christmas. I love the sights and the sounds…the smells of food and Christmas trees bring me so much excitement, even now. I look forward to time with family and an opportunity to see people I don’t get a chance to see often during the year. Christmas is good…except when it is not. Like when someone who should be sitting at the table isn’t because they have died. Or when someone you love so much is suffering in the hospital. Or when there are disputes in the family over seemingly stupid stuff. Or when you are alone and Christmas just isn’t Christmas anymore. Those are the times when we long for a Christmas do-over…either to fix what we have or to go back to where we were.
One of my favorite memories of Christmas time growing up was at my Grandma’s house. She was, and still is, an amazing cook. Christmas was a time of desserts…sweets…chocolates…pies…all the stuff I so enjoy…love…crave…seek. There are special foods that she only made at Christmas. Because she cooked so many desserts (like a whole buffet of desserts…it was amazing), she would start early and then would put the desserts that were complete in her back bedroom. This was a spare bedroom and it was one of the coldest rooms in the house. She would have desserts spread all over that room. It was like Christmas when I would walk in her house and she told me I could go in that room (yes, I asked permission…I wasn’t willing to risk the chance of not getting to enjoy the sweets). To see all the goodies wrapped up, smelling good, and calling my name. I could tell that they were calling me specifically…that I needed to test them out and make sure they were good enough for the rest of the family…I felt it was my duty to check out the food just in case something wasn’t up to standards (As if that would ever happen). So she would let me taste test a few of the candies that were in that room. That was Christmas.
I often think about if I could just go back…if I could just re-create moments like those. Grandma still cooks and she still has that house. She doesn’t cook that many desserts any more and doesn’t store them there. But, she could. The problem is that we don’t get Christmas do-overs or repeats. Those were experiences of my childhood. I can create some variation of it, but one of the things that made it so special is that it is from my childhood. Memories like these are…just that – memories. They need to stay sweet memories in my mind because they continue to bring me so much joy.
So, I think that Christmas is still good – even when it’s not. It is just that I am making memories as an adult now. I am making memories with my kids and wife. I am making memories with family and I am learning the value of treasuring each moment. Next year’s Christmas won’t be the same. This Christmas is what I have…as fun or as challenging as it might be. So, this Christmas I hope to savor each moment…to breathe and look around…to take in all the sights and sounds (even if they include the beeping of machines in the hospital)…and I will treasure the blessings of this day…for it will not be like this again.
May the sights and sounds of Christmas bring you much joy. Merry Christmas!