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Archive for December 17th, 2019

If I hear it, I turn off the CD, the radio … and I seem to hear it so very often this Christmas season.

“I’ll be home for Christmas …. “

Having lived away from ‘home’ for most of my life, I have had years that I long for that childhood home for the holidays more than other years. This year is a bit different, for what I long for is not so much place, but time.

Seasons, such as Christmas, have triggers that can instantly thrust us into memories of the past.

Snow falling can take me back to snowy memories at Christmas time, when new toboggans, skates, hats and boots would be used. A clear, starry night can take me back to the wonder of searching the night sky for reindeer and Santa. Chocolates can take me back to the thrill of when the Ganong red box was brought out of the closet, signalling that Christmas truly had arrived. The concerts of the season put me back on a stage, as a child, reciting lines, singing Gloria in Excelsis Deo. The trees, the presents, the food, the events … all symbols of the season, all triggers in the mind to another time and place.

My favorite memories of Christmas’ past involve Christmas Eve at the my Gram Smith’s house. The meal, the family, the gifts that Santa had dropped off earlier that day 😉 … such sweet memories. Then there was the drive home, my eyes fixed to the skies for the light from Rudolf’s nose. Early on Christmas morning, when the sky was still ebony, we would be awakened by my dad, NOT trying to be quiet, as he moved through the house, hoping to awaken just one of us so that we could get the day started. The stockings, gifts, laughter … such sweet memories. After the gifts were opened the turkey would be prepared for the oven, but also that big red box of chocolates would come out, filling the plastic tree candy holder … and we would study the ‘map’ from the box to plan our one chocolate selection well (there was nothing worse than making a mistake and biting into a vanilla cream one). Then the gifts that were not toys would be organized back under the tree, in a different form of decoration. Later we would eat that traditional turkey dinner, complete with mashed potato (not bread stuffing) dressing, flavored with summer savory. Once filled to the gills, we would play games, make puzzles, enjoy our toys with family.

My memories of childhood Christmas’ have a rhythm, patterns of rituals that cemented the joys of tradition, family and celebration within my being. And I am so thankful to look back and be so thankful.

But, as I ponder and write about those traditions from the place and people I love, knowing that I will only be home for Christmas in my dreams …

I am also feeling rather ‘homesick’ of another kind, missing one of the heartbeats of my childhood Christmas memories. His absence makes me homesick for that place and time, but also for the Christmas celebration in eternity.

I really hope Saint Peter is a morning soul, for he will be awakened raucously this Christmas.

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home’s where my heart is then I’m out of place

Lord, won’t you give me strength to make it through somehow
I’ve never been more homesick than now

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