As Christmas day approaches, I find myself thinking back to some of my favorite holiday memories. And after my third piece of fruitcake, I feel brave enough to share them with you.
I remember the first Christmas our family had together after my mom and stepdad married. My dad (the step part had faded away by then) bought my mother a new camera, and carefully wrapped it, placed a bow on top and placed it under the Christmas tree.
On Christmas morning, my mom opened it up, only to find no camera. When she looked up, with a priceless look on her face that was a mixture of confusion and disgust, Daddy snapped a picture...what a great way to remember that Kodak moment.
Then there was the year I had received an alarm clock for my birthday. So that Christmas, I set the alarm for every hour, on the hour, to wake my parents up and ask them if we could go see what Santa left us. That clock mysteriously disappeared. I still don’t know what happened to it.
One of my favorite memories as a kid was just the anticipation. On Christmas Eve, my dad would constantly look out the window and declare he could see a small red light in the sky that seemed to be moving closer to our house. He’d swear it was Rudolph, and we’d better hurry to bed or Santa would skip our house.
I could see our living room, where the Christmas tree was always located each year, from my bedroom. And in the dark, with the help of the streetlights in our neighborhood, I could just make out the outline of the tree and see mysterious shapes of things Santa had left behind. The thrill of seeing it, oh so close, and not being able to touch any of it until my parents gave the nod, was almost more than my brothers and I could stand.
When we were finally allowed out of bed on Christmas morning, the torturous wait wasn’t over...we had to wait for my dad to go and get my grandmother. When we’d finally get the green light, we’d burst into the living room, creating a blur of wrapping paper, ribbons and boxes, accented by giggles and squeals of delight.
I guess my favorite Christmas memory was each year when I’d have kind of an out of body experience. At some point, I’d find myself stopping whatever I was doing, and I’d just look at my parents. I mean, really look at them. They were both always smiling, and both always seemed so...content.
Maybe they simply reflected our excitement. Maybe they were just happy to see their children so happy. Maybe it was from lack of sleep...I don’t know.
But whatever it was, that’s my absolute favorite Christmas memory. The look of love and contentment I saw on their faces each year.
May each of you wear that look on your countenance not just on Christmas morning, but every day, all year long.
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