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Christmas memories are something we all have in common.
Maybe, it’s a Yule tradition, or a special occasion. My Christmas memories date back to my childhood and entering our den aglow in Christmas red. When I hear the song “Toyland,” I think about those special times. Back then on Christmas Eve night, my brothers, sister and I would sleep in the same room.
I remember hearing sleigh bells late in the night and on Christmas morning a log or two would be misplaced in the fireplace where Santa entered during the night.
On Christmas Eve, we’d gather as a family in the den and my father would read the Christmas story.
Christmas was a grand time in the Howey household on Normandy Road and later on Sherwood Circle, but our parents, Jim and Bettie Howey, always made sure we knew the true reason for the season. We were blessed in more ways than we knew, and it was more than getting what you wanted for Christmas.
As a parent now, I have a few Yule memories of my own children, Caroline and Jackson.
Since they are older now, college and high school age, Christmas Eve excitement is not as high as it once was, but we still have fun and those special Christmas memories.
One special Christmas memory of Caroline is about a Christmas Eve visit to see Santa.
This goes back a number of years, and the item which topped her Christmas list that year was a new vanity.
She had told Santa and he must have told her he was going to deliver. Never underestimate the power of a child’s belief in Santa’s promise. On the way home, a confident Caroline pondered aloud what were we going to do with her old vanity.
When she got home, she pushed the old vanity out in the hall to make room for the new one.
Well, as expected, Santa came through as we had an earlier talk with old Saint Nick.
The old vanity, still in good shape, also found a new home to a deserving little girl longing for the same gift.
Then, there’s Jackson.
Well, several Christmases back, he received a train set and after Santa’s delivery late that Christmas Eve, I got up and was going to have it all set up for him for Christmas Day play.
I tried my best, and finally even read the instructions, but I couldn’t get it to operate like it showed on the box. Does that ever happen?
After a while, it got the best of me. I told Anne never again were we going to get a toy without it being assembled, no matter the extra cost. Well, it didn’t matter. On Christmas morning, Jackson went right to the train, put it together and had it running as quick as you could say, “clickety-clack.”
Around about that same time, I recall a Christmas Day conversation with Jackson. He told me he awoke in the wee hours of Christmas Eve and peeked through the blinds to see Santa’s sleigh just outside his room. He said the reindeer stood tall as they waited for Santa to return. He recounted seeing the reindeers’ breath in the cold night air.
Jackson noted a huge sleigh packed full of toys. The way he described it made it seem so real.
That’s Christmas magic, just like the kind, which brought Frosty, as the old song goes, to life one day. Hey, you have to believe.
Then there’s a recent Christmas memory I have, simple yet extraordinary.
One Christmas Eve a year, or two ago, I recall a phone conversation with my brother Bill in Jacksonville.
We talked about when we were children and the Christmases we’d shared with Jimbo, Betsy, David and our parents.We agreed we always received what we wanted for Christmas.
I told him how Christmas changed through the years, going from childhood to an adult, husband and father.
I told him now, the joy in Christmas comes Christmas Eve when I attend our annual service at First Presbyterian, In the calm and beauty of the moment, I sit with my family thankful to the Lord for the blessing of being with them and sharing in the ageless story of the birth of His Son.
“Robert, isn’t that what Christmas is about,” Bill said.
Yes, it is.
In closing, a couple of wishes – Merry Christmas and, as always, be good sports.