Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lovely Christmas Memories

I remember when this video was new. It wasn't a video at all, actually, and YouTube didn't exist even in someone's imagination.

Grandma and I were sitting in the living room watching the Bing Crosby Christmas special. Grandpa may have been there, too, but I don't remember.

I thought it was so cool that David Bowie would be performing with Bing Crosby. It was like my generation and Grandma's generation meeting in the middle. I wondered if the children of my generation would have more peace than those of Grandma's.

You might find it odd that I would consider such a thing at that age, but if you knew the politics and information that I had been raised listening to, you wouldn't be surprised.

I wish that Grandpa could see that Russia is no longer the awful threat it once was. I wish he knew that the efforts of World War II had, mostly, paid off.

I wish I could tell him that the terrorist tactics begun in the 1970s had ended, but they seem to have redoubled their efforts instead.

Peace on earth? Can it be?

One life at a time, perhaps. If only everyone knew the Prince of Peace. If everyone understood His plan for growth and prosperity. Then . . . perhaps . . . every child could be made aware, could be made to care.

Thanks, David and Bing for a great Christmas memory.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Past and Present

Happy Holidays . . Happy HOLLYdays . . the merry bells keep ringing, happy holidays to you!

As Bing croons classically behind me, past and present clash in my little apartment.

The past, redundant with tarnished glitter, dusty pipe cleaners and slightly musty smells covers my floor. Once shiny glass ornaments whose glitter has been rubbed off in spots lay gently in beds of tinsel whose plush beauty diminishes when stretched. Picking carefully through the remains of decorations not packed well enough, I found two smiling Sunday School faces expectedly looking up waiting for their rescue. I remember each of the little boy faces so well and even remember the day the pictures were new.

“Who is that?” says my curious Anna.

“I know who that is. That’s daddy,” answers Mavrik looking over her shoulder.

“OH! Look at that one! I want that one!” In a blink, Anna’s attention has flipped the page from past to present.

The present, with its wonder and awe, easily overtakes all of that bringing new glitz, new shine, new essence.

With a “careful Baby, here let me help you” uttered over and again, we changed the shabby Charlie Brown Christmas tree to a point of honor in the center of a magical village. It even snowed in the village!

The countertop was transformed into a quiet place where Baby Jesus lay as piece by piece the Christmas story was told again. Eyes filled with amazement at the angels singing to the shepherds and wise men riding camels. No doubt. No critical analysis. No need to prove the truth. Just simple childlike faith. Reminds me of a scripture . . .

New Christmas stories are told, too.

“Who is that? Is that your Grandpa? Was he a soldier? Where is he now? Did he love you?” Mavrik’s unending questions tripped over themselves to be spoken as his mind raced ahead.

“Is that your Grandma? I liked her.” It didn’t occur to Anna that she had never, and could never, meet Grandma. Grandma was mine and so became Anna’s, too.

My camera caught Arthur’s reflection in Grandpa’s picture.

A friend helping me through grief told me once that the memories of those lost are always with you and as long as you relive the memories, the person lost is not really . . . lost. They remain with you. Whenever you tell their story, whoever is listening is taking a bit of the one you love into their heart, into their mind. That way, the legacy lives on.

“This is my Grandma and Grandpa who raised me. They let me live with them and they loved me very much. They would have loved you very much, too.” Serious faces tried to understand the difficult words.

“My Grandpa’s name was John. Who else do you know named John?”

“Daddy’s name is John. My name is Mavrik John.”

“Yep. Daddy was named for Grandpa and you were named for Daddy.”

“I’m going to be a soldier just like Grandpa.”

From her picture frame beside the commotion, Grandma smiled quietly. Gone perhaps, but never forgotten.

Silver Bells . . .Silver Bells . . . It’s Christmastime in the City . . .