This year, more than any other, I am haunted by the memories of Christmas past. I don't know what it is about this year. We have not done any Christmas shopping, and like the Cratchets, are content to settle for a nice Christmas dinner. So many people I know this year are feeling the same it seems. They come to my house and see my few decorations, and complain about how they want to forget it is Christmas.
I can't forget. For me, growing up in rural West Virginia, Christmas was the time of magic. Just seeing the tree alive with lights, and singing carols to myself at night, laying in bed, filled me with promise and great, great anticipation. Not so much for gifts, though of course I did want them, but just a feeling that something wonderful would happen.
One year it began snowing on Christmas Eve, and the beauty of that snowfall was like a gift. Everything in my world was transformed into a fairyland, it seemed. Though I had no socks for my shoes, I stayed outside as long as I could to be in the snow and relish the peace and silence. All things seemed possible. Of course my feet burned like hell when I came inside, but it was the price I paid. I will always treasure that perfect stillness of a snowfall on Christmas Eve in the hills where I grew up.
My sister was a big part of my childhood Christmas memories. We always managed to put on our own version of the Christmas story, even if our only audience was my mother, and it was glorious. One year our ancient Christmas angel that adorned the top of our tree lost all of her "angel hair", so we glued yarn to the top of her head, and there she reigned, on the top of our tree, with her Christmas "dreadlocks!" But it was good.
This Christmas we are haunted by so many who have gone on before us. There are still little electrical glitches going on in our house-hold, little things, and my dreams are full of those I have loved and lost. But they are good dreams, happy dreams, so I am comforted. And somehow, we will make it through this Christmas, and it will be good, we will enjoy ourselves.
May you all have a joyous and blessed Christmas. They are with you, those you have lost. In spirit and love, I believe they will be with us all.