Christmas in our house was simple. I don’t remember having company as our extended family all lived too far away to face the winter weather and roads to visit us. Our gifts were simple. We had a tree with lights and decorations, many homemade. And Mother strung string around the living room to hang the many cards over. She was always pleased when she had to add another string and start a second row.
I recall a few gifts. There was the toddler-sized doll my mother made me one year. It had moveable limbs and was very life-like. It wore real baby clothes. I played endlessly with that doll. I wish I still had it but my mother had taught me to give away my toys to other children when I outgrew them so I can only hope some other little girl got as much enjoyment from it as did I.
One year my mother made for my two brothers a toy town on a four foot by four foot piece of lumber. It came complete with tiny houses, tiny trees, roadways, etc. This was long before you could buy play mats at the store. The boys got a collection of matchbox vehicles that fit perfectly in the toy town. I don’t know how much they played with it but I played with it by the hour.
I remember a tiny doll my uncle sent me. It was curled up like a newborn and wore a blue knit outfit complete with knit cap. The body and face were made out of some kind of material like kewpie dolls and disintegrated over the years but I still have the memories.
One Christmas does stick in my memory. The three of us kids had either chicken pox or measles and were confined to bed. We were sick but not too sick to want Christmas so Mom set up cots for us in the living room and we had Christmas from our beds. I don’t remember what I got. I just remember the fun of celebrating in bed.
I remember one visitor. I think it was at Christmas time. It was a second cousin. He was grown up. I was a shy little girl and in complete awe of this older cousin. I doubt I spoke a word to him. Before he left, he gave each of us three kids a silver dollar. Wow. Back in the dark ages of my youth, a dollar was a lot of money. Mom persuaded us all to start a bank account with our windfall. So we trooped downtown to Mr. Scoville’s office and opened an account. I never saw that dollar again. Now if I’d stuck it under my mattress and saved it, it would probably be worth more today than the savings account was. But who was to know?
Isn’t that what life is often like? We fail to see the true value of so many things—like the smile on a child’s face, the laugh of a grandparent, the beauty of sun sparkling on the snow, the rich glut of Christmas lights, the true meaning of the season that little baby in a manger—God’s gift of love to all mankind. My wish for myself and you is that this year we might see beyond the practical matters to the true value of life.
‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’