Christmas memories

By Helen Guilford

Where has this year gone? Though day by day, it sometimes seemed endless, still when it comes to its final count-down, the question looms before me – where has it gone? Oh, it was a busy year with the sale of my property and the move to an Independent Living situation, but, still, where has it gone?

More to the point today, however, is the question of memories of Christmases past. One of those was the year of my sixth birthday. What about that year makes it memorable?

My stable, solid-as-a-rock mother cried! Yes, my Mom cried! And I didn’t understand why.

Her side of the family had gathered in our living room on the farm for a meal and, more importantly, conversation on Christmas Eve. I say “more importantly” because the evening involved significant travel for some and cars were not the cars of today!

Bedtime came for this almost six-year-old and the singing (Mom’s family always sang) continued until it was determined the adults should leave for their homes. It was an amazing family gathering – and memorable. I don’t remember if there were gifts but I do remember the love of the evening.

But, here it was Christmas morning. Apparently my Mom noticed my lack of Christmas spirit from the time I came downstairs. I do remember seeking the heat of the floor register in the living room rather than showing interest in the tree with its offerings.

When Dad and my brothers came in from doing chores, a brief conversation resulted in the doctor being called to come to our house.

And his diagnosis was the cause for the tears my Mom shed – scarlet fever!

Her tears were shed for the family members who had enjoyed the evening before and were no doubt exposed!

At that time, a scarlet fever diagnosis was synonymous with mandatory quarantine and long-lasting (even into adulthood) after effects. How could a farm family with boys ages 10 and 14 manage that? Dad borrowed a small hard shell camping trailer and parked it next to the house for him and the 14-year-old. The 10-year old was quarantined with Mom and me but had to stay away from the bedroom where I was.

It was a long quarantine with our only communication being through the bedroom window where Dad and Mom had their visit.

Yes, that’s the Christmas I most easily remember and why?

Because Mom cried. She cried on behalf of those who had been there and would surely also be exposed! I don’t know what anybody got for gifts that Christmas, but NO ONE else got scarlet fever.

And even with the limitations placed on the family, it was a memorable time. Mom saw to that. It was a time in which hearts were turned to the birth of the Christ child and the knowledge that we rested safely in His hands.

Be sure this year’s Christmas celebration not just includes Him, but focuses on Him. If you don’t truly know HIM, may this be the time you invite Him into your heart and life. Just come to Him wherever you are and give Him first place in your heart. He is listening for your invitation.

May this be not only a MERRY Christmas, but truly a BLESSED Christmas.

By Helen Guilford