Think back tonight on past Christmas seasons. What do you remember with the most fondness? Was it not small, simple things, a visit with a loved family member now many years gone, a favorite carol on the radio while the snow blows over the windshield and the car is warm within.
You remember your grandmother standing in the door to welcome you with a happy smile and your grandfather standing there over her shoulder beaming.
You remember the Captain Crunch they always kept in the funny drawer that tilted out from the bottom of the old refrigerator because they knew you were coming and that you liked it.
There was that tree in the corner with the fat colored lights. You recall the sound of carolers outside your door, and your mother walking around the group rewarding them all with cookies she put in the oven just as they arrived.
You don’t remember all your gifts and the ones you do remember were not all you thought they might have been but you remember the box of huge navel oranges and grapefruit a neighbor brought over one night. You remember the tea ring the lady next door always gave you on Christmas morning.
Between now and Christmas some kindness, some quiet moment, some simple gift or conversation, a song or a fragrance on the night air, the sound of sleigh bells will stay with you for years. You will cherish the memory of the Salvation Army brass out in the cold, the smile on the face of the old man ringing the bell by the kettle and the good will you felt when you dropped in a few coins and he warmly rewarded you with a heartfelt “Merry Christmas.”
These are the simple things that will lodge in your memory and warm your heart and bring tears to your eyes for many, many years–even long after some of the people associated with them are no longer with you.
You didn’t have much money but you do remember that night when dad had enough gas in the car to take you out on Mortgage Row to look at the light display that was actually sponsored by Dayton Power and Light Company to encourage energy consumption. You were Oohing and Ahhing and you were sure your heart was going to burst with waiting for Christmas.
It was mostly simple things, small things that make Christmas memories so dear to you, and people, of course. Most of all it was the whole amazing grace that God would come down and rescue us from our impossible mess.
So keep Christmas, but as much as lies within you, keep it simply. Keep it quietly. Keep Christmas with loud merriment if you like but keep it sitting in stillness by the crackling fire. Keep Christmas in large groups buzzing with excitement, but don’t overlook the charm of keeping Christmas in quiet solitude. Keep Christmas with larger-than-life pageantry if you like, but keep it with quiet morning devotions and a cup of coffee. Keep Christmas by walking at night under a full moon in the snow. (Right around December 22) Keep Christmas by reading A Visit From St. Nicholas to a child. Keep Christmas by telling someone the story of Jesus and why he came, and that He will come again and make everything wrong right and bring a new heaven and a new earth and peace and justice and righteous and every virtue a human heart ever longed for.
Keep Christmas… and keep it simple.
Summit Township, Michigan
December 3, 2018