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 . . .