The Christmas I Remember Best

I am sure you have one particular Christmas that stands out in your mind.  Your favorite memory of a special holiday season.  Was it snowing?  Was the sun shining bright?  Were you a small child or were you the parent watching the child?  How many of us take the time to stop and remember past Christmases?  I think at this time of the year, for me, I remember many that held people who are no longer in my life, but have moved on home to be with our Lord.  My Mother and Father:  Christmas gatherings were always at their house, with all of their four children gathered around.  As we got older the crowd only got larger as we each brought our families to the Christmas family party.  Mom and Dad opened their presents first, and then from the youngest to the oldest came the rest of us.  It was a joyful time, but sadly it can no longer happen.  I miss them terribly, but only for a short time (for them) and we will be joined together again.

There were the times my husband and I watched our three children open their gifts on Christmas morning, with eyes sparkling from the twinkling lights on the tree, the shouts of joy when they opened a gift that was “Just What I Wanted”!  I think my most memorable Christmas was when we were completely broke.  I know this sounds crazy, but it was our best one ever.  I don’t remember why we were broke, but we were.  That year there was only enough money to buy each of our three children, only one pair of jeans.  I was so down, because we didn’t have enough money to buy a real Christmas tree and we had never had an artificial one before.  Well, we were coming back from somewhere, when the kids spotted a lot selling trees.  After begging  and begging, Bob and I decided it couldn’t hurt to look.  After all we still had $10.00, and maybe there was a discard we could find.

The kids jumped out of the car and began roaming around the lot.  As usual my husband, Bob, stayed at the car until we had found the most “perfect” one.  It was obvious this was not his first Christmas tree shopping trip,  When my oldest called me over to the best one she could find, I looked at the tag and nearly fainted.  She had a good eye and had found one that was only about five times more in cost than I had in funds.  In the meantime our youngest came rushing up, just as I said, “Honey, I don’t have that much money”.  “How much do you have, Mama”?  “I only have $10.00, and I still need to stop and get some bread and milk”.  “Oh…”, she said with a crestfallen look that would have made Scrooge cry.  Remember the saying “Little pitchers have big ears”?  You will see where they got that saying from in a minute.

We continued to look and at the back of the lot I spotted what had to be the original Charlie Brown Christmas Tree leaning against a back fence.  As I walked over to look at the price, the lot person asked if he could help us.  I looked at the pitiful tree and asked how much, and when he said $20.00, I could not believe my ears.  I said no thank you, and told the kids to let’s go.  He insisted he would have one just like we wanted, only I did not want him to know all the money I had in the world was $10.00.  That is when my youngest shouted to the world, “Mama can’t buy one of your trees ’cause they cost too much.  All she has is $10.00”.  I looked everywhere for a hole to crawl in but there was none to be found.  The lot was crowded with people even though it was Christmas Eve, and I felt like everyone had heard her.  “Let’s go, NOW”! I said under my breath, as I grabbed my youngest daughter’s hand and started to walk away.

The man said, “Uh, wait a minute maam, I think I have just the tree you want”.

Not wanting to have us become the laughing stock of the tree lot, I sent the three kids to the car and turned to the man to thank him, but he had walked ahead of me and turned and yelled “OVER HERE”.  Looking at the ground I went over to where he was holding a tree still in the mesh they wrap them in.  I couldn’t tell the kind but it looked really large and expensive.  Before I could protest he said, “I have this one I was going to let go for $5.00.  If you want it, it’s yours”.

“I will take it, thank you”.

He put it on top of the car as I stood waiting to hand him my five $1.00 bills.  When I went to hand him the money he just shook his head no and as he walked away, he turned and grinned and said “Merry Christmas”.  I could only respond in kind, since I was close to speechless.  Once we were home and had loosed the tree from its bindings, we found a gorgeous full blue spruce.  The kind he had marked on his lot for $70.00 plus.  When we had decorated it, the five of us just sat on the floor taking in the beauty of the decorated tree, and marveled at how blessed we really were and everyone agreed; this was the best Christmas we had ever had because it was the most beautiful tree in the world.  While I read the story of the baby Jesus to the children, the real meaning of Christmas became even more predominate to us, looking at the tree without the array of presents; just the warm glow of the lights filled the air and a feeling of peace and the love of God wrapped around us like a soft, warm blanket.

Merry Christmas to All and May God Bless You this Christmas Season.

                                                                                                                         Carol

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