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Memories of Christmas Past

We are invited, by the sights and sounds of the Christmas season, to reflect upon holiday memories that have shaped our childhoods and created pathways to adulthood — the memories of Christmas past. We store these memories like cherished treasures in the recesses of our minds. They are gifts that can be reopened through our imagination, creating joyful opportunities for remembering and reflection.

What Christmas memories do you hold dear? I suggest you find a comfortable chair, put up your feet for a few minutes and relax.

Christmas Memories Close to the Heart

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to turn on gentle Christmas music, turn off all the lights — except those on the tree — and sit quietly, appreciating the peace. Allowing your mind to release present joys and concerns creates an open space for personal reflection. Opening yourself to memories allows opportunities to wander into the past and remember one’s own cherished Christmas traditions.

Although that large tree of my childhood and childrearing years is no longer present, I can envision it in in my mind’s eye. It is a large freshly cut pine tree in the corner of the living room decorated with lights, strings of glitter and valued ornaments from my children’s youth. It brings great joy to reflect on those handcrafted ornaments. I wonder how many people have a cherished “Dixie cup/pipe cleaner” or  “toilet paper roll” ornament made by a child years ago? Who can still “see” those popsicle-frame ornaments with childhood pictures on them? What about the kindergartners and first-graders with bright smiles that proudly displayed missing front teeth?

Reflection: An Opportunity for Insight

We have incredible opportunities to remember when we reflect quietly and allow memories to flow. What valued family traditions come to mind? Did you have favorite family recipes for specific cookies, candies or ethnic holiday foods? What Christmas books were your favorites? Did your family gather together to light candles sing holiday carols or watch a special movie?

Through these stories within our souls, we can remember our pasts and how we have been shaped, molded and led into astonishing adventures. Each story creates a framework within one’s mind that weave memories into a tapestry that invites one to continue to make amazing choices on the journey through life.

Making Sense of Our Lives

Christina Baldwin in her book, Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story writes: ”Story — the abundance of it, and the lack of it — shapes us. Story — the abundance of it, and the lack of it — gives us place, lineage, history, a sense of self. Story — the abundance of it, and the lack of it — breaks us into pieces, shatters our understanding, and gives it back over and over again, the story different every time. Story — the abundance of it, and the lack of it — connects us with the world and outlines our relationship with everything.”

This Christmas season, share your stories and ask others about their Christmas memories. Expanding our horizons by listening to friends and family creates new connections and deepens relationships that may be shared from generation to generation. What an amazing opportunity to celebrate God’s love through the promise of new birth and the light of Christ!  May your relationships be illuminated in hope, peace, joy and love. Merry Christmas!

About Rev. Catherine Lawrence

Rev. Cathy is a registered nurse and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She is a lifelong learner who loves to read and enjoys nature. She is the mother of two adult children and has one beloved grandchild.

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