Hearing familiar carols, seeing merry lights twinkling on every street, and smelling the indescribable aroma of fresh-baked cookies always sends my thoughts on a happy trip down Memory Lane. Of all the wonderful Christmas memories I’ve shared with my loved ones over the years, however, there is one that I’ll never forget. It was the night, you see, that I learned what Christmas is all about.
My dad brought our family a particularly sorrowful announcement one year: we weren’t going to have a Christmas. He had a variety of reasons, but as children all we heard was that Christmas wasn’t going to happen at our house. Suddenly everything about the season became difficult… the holiday commercials on televison, the music and baking, the Merry Santas at the grocery store, and the candy cane my piano teacher gave me. All of it reminded me of the fact that we weren’t allowed to join in this year.
When Christmas Eve arrived my younger brother, Paul, excitedly pulled my sister and me into his bedroom. “I have a surprise,” he whispered. “Don’t tell.”
When we got into the room, we saw that he had taken a green jacket and draped it over an old tennis racket, decorating it with paper ornaments. “It’s a Christmas Tree!” we shouted in delight, and I thought it was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen.
“Operation Christmas” had begun, and we threw ourselves into making a star to top the tree and creating hand-made gifts for one another. “Tonight, after everyone is asleep, we’ll have Christmas after all,” we promised each other.
That night we sneaked into the room and turned on a night-light, which set our makeshift Christmas Tree aglow. We were about to give each other the gifts we had made (stories we had written for one another, pictures we had drawn, or coupon books good for having one’s chores done) when we heard a knock at the door. It was Mom. We froze as she stood there with tears in her eyes, taking in all that we had done. Were we in trouble?
“Can I join the party?” she said simply. We grabbed her hands and pulled her into the room, telling her to wait while we made her a couple of gifts.
“I like coupon books,” she said mischievously. “I always have lots of chores that need to be done!”
We laughed and laughed, happy to oblige. And that night, we discovered that you don’t need a fancy tree or store bought presents to have a happy Christmas. All you need is family, the peace of Christ in your heart, and the joy of giving, sprinkled with a little love.
This Christmas Memory is being shared as part of the Christmas Memory Giveaway, sponsored here at The Artistic Christian! Visit my “Contests and Giveaways” page and share your own Christmas Memory by December 15 for a chance to win!