It hardly seems possible that another Christmas has come and gone. I think it comes quicker than it goes, but then that is just my opinion.
We were sitting for the last time around the Christmas tree which was about to be disassembled and I happen to say, “I can’t believe Christmas is over. Where does the time go?”
To that, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage looked at me and said, “The older you get, the faster time goes.”
I remember as if it was yesterday when without thinking, which is usually dangerous for me, I once responded, “You must know.”
I got the “stare” that encouraged me not to respond in that vein ever again.
However, and you didn’t hear it from me, she is right. She is always right. The older I get, the faster time seems to go. I cannot believe that not only is Christmas past, but the whole year is passed. It is all just history now.
But, oh, what history it was.
Sometimes it is interesting to think back over the past year and remember some of the great occasions. By great occasions, I mean the minuses and the pluses. Some memories are good and some memories are, well, you know.
This is the genius of getting older. Now that I have another Christmas under my belt, I can mesh together two or three Christmases as though it was one Christmas occasion. After all, who is going to know, apart from the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage?
Whenever I begin the phrase, “I remember a Christmas when…” I need to look at my wife to see if she is listening. Of course, if she is not listening, I can go along and invent my own Christmas tree story. I like to do that.
There was the time when I first did this without noticing my wife was listening and at every turn of my story, she corrected me. By the time I was done telling “our” story, I did not remember what I said.
Years ago, however, I have learned how to tell these Christmas memories and not get into trouble. One of the great things about being a husband is that you are on a learning curve. If you just pay attention, you learn how to deal with certain situations. When it comes to Christmas stories and memories, I have mastered the learning curve.
I always begin it this way, “My dear,” referring to my wife, “do you remember that Christmas when…” That is about all I have to say and she will take the story from there. Fortunately for me, or unfortunately, it just depends, I have no idea which way she is going.
Several times, I learned things about one of our Christmases that I did not know before. Maybe I did know it before, but I had forgotten it and I am going to let it sit there. I am not going to infer that she made up any memory for the storytelling. I will not suggest that the memory she was talking about had nothing to do with our Christmas history.
That is just the kind of husband I am. I will never, ever, correct my wife about anything. Even when she makes a mistake in our checkbook, I do the “husband math,” correct it and not mention it.
It is not all bad. Recently we were sitting drinking some coffee looking for the last evening at the Christmas tree thinking about Christmases in the past. Then I heard her chuckling. She does not usually chuckle like this, but it was a special occasion.
“Do you remember,” she said still chuckling, “the Christmas tree that collapsed on Christmas morning?”
I had to stop and rewind my memory machine and then I remembered. It is amazing what you can remember when you have a little bit of incentive.
We had just moved into a new parsonage, it was our first Christmas there, and the children were rather young. Only one of them was going to school at the time. It was Christmas morning and as we got up the kids were so excited about Christmas and the Christmas gifts under the tree that they just went crazy.
My wife and I sat back, watch them and laughed as they were laughing together.
We were going to have an orderly opening of Christmas gifts, at least that was our plan. The kids, however, were so excited that they delved into the pile of Christmas presents, not knowing that behind them was the Christmas tree.
All at once, without any kind of warning, the Christmas tree fell over and almost hit one of the kids. There was a trio of screaming that I think would have scared Santa Claus himself.
Nobody was hurt, but three little munchkins were terribly frightened. They were so frightened they did not want to open up their Christmas presents.
Thinking about this, my wife and I chuckled most heartily. From then on, the children never overlooked the Christmas tree and with a great deal of caution opened up their Christmas presents.
In reminiscing about this, I thought of what the angel said to the shepherds that night so long ago, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people,” (Luke 2:10).
The years come and go but the most important thing are the memories they leave behind.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores.