For most of us Christmas is photographed and filed, but never left for long to gather dust. We see Christmas in real as well as imaginary albums.
1997's pictures show the first celebration for my youngest grandchild. The stars weren't limited to the tree. As it happens every time we have a new baby in the family, those eyes twinkled in the hearts of all of us, as we relived our own first-remembered Yuletide through the stars in the new child's eyes. I ran back down the years and reached out with little-girl arms to hear again a dear old great-grandmother whispering in my little-girl ear, "Now, don't forget." Before regressing quite so far, I had other, "visions" with not a sugar plum in sight. I saw holidays slipping past, with different, "youngest" grandchildren laughing merrily at some grand, shimmering tandenbaum. And further back to my own babies. How clearly I can see them toddling by in their sailer suits and ruffled dresses.
Through irridescent, wintry clouds of splendor, through times of trouble and hearts we would swear were broken beyond recycling; through falling snow flakes, rain drops and hopes, December 25th keeps coming. A few soft words inhabit northern winds, "Now, don't forget...." I see Christmas when hugging a friend I have had since girlho9od. We did our shopping, "downtown" before malls were anything but big hammers. With fur-lined boots and parka's we walked past store-fronts festooned with greens and colored lights. Carols poured forth from overhead speakers far above us and we talked about "Little Women's" Jo who sold her hair to buy a present for her mother. We couldn't wait to begin purchasing gift with our allowances. It snowed for days that winter, and I foun d a sled under the Christmas tree. But just before I went to sleep on Christmas Eve I heard that whisper, "Now, don't forget..."
I see Christmas when I think of my parents and grandparents...remembering gifts of Nancy Drew myteries, ice skates, bicycles,scooters, dolls and even a small bright red kiddy car when I was four-years old. I see a sweet-faced aunt touch my cheek and say softly, "Now, don't forget..."
Different days with grow-up presents came too quickly, at least in retrospect. Then one December 7th, and for a long few years the world wasn't sure there would be more Christmases. But, of course there were, along with lockets and high-heeled slippers, and Evening in Paris perfumes. I had an uncle in France on one of those holidays, who would have traded his evening in Paris for most anybody. He was carrying a rifle through mud up to his knees and hadn't been able to change his socks for weeks. Still, I heard it yet again, "Now, don't forget..."
Some people say, "That is more than I care to remember." Not me. Every one is a gift to acknowledge and recall.; even the years I made the biggest fool of myself--the most colossal errors in judgement. Christmas is always there at the end to bring about healing when we remember what this day is all about. Sooner or later this season, I will be bending over a small bed, touching a soft cheek and whispering," Now, don't forget...Joy to the world, the Lord is come!"