Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

~Christmas Memories~

I thought I would just share a collection of Christmas Memories ~ most of them have to do with my growing up years, and majority of them happened on Christmas Eve.

The other evening as we were headed to the "Live Nativity - Walk through Bethlehem"... we were not very far from the church where I grew up... so I was telling my Mother-in-Law about our Christmas Eve's over the years.  It was a small Mennonite Church, that has been in this community for many, many years.  Many community folks know of this church because of its door-to-door outreaches; a Thanksgiving meal put on by the youth group, or mostly by the church coming by on Christmas Eve to carol ~ bringing along cookies and fruit baskets.

The family roots run deep with this church.  Both sets of my grandparents were married here, and actually were in each other's weddings.  Isn't that halarius?  My one Grandfather was actually a deacon of the church... so he really got to know the community well.  He died when I was two years old, so I don't really know much about him on a personal level.  I say all of that to say that I really mean that this tradition has been going on for years.

It would start with the older ladies of the church making 6-sided baskets out of old Christmas Cards.  They would cut off the fronts of the cards, cut out the shape,  glue two (wrong) sides together, paper punch them and then crochet the pieces together with red thread.  These would then be ready for the youth group to gather one night, closer to Christmas, to put them together as fruit baskets.

Also.  We (the youth group) would get together one night to bake cookies.  Batches and batches of cookies.  People would even volunteer cookie dough to be baked up that night.  ((smells wafting))  This was always such a fun time - and yes, even the guys got roped into baking and watching the ovens.
So, for Christmas Eve, the whole church would gather around 6:30pm, at the church, to go caroling.  It didn't matter; Bitter COLD, rain, snow, ~ you name it.... we were there.  We would all bundle up, pack everyone into as few cars as possible - and sometimes there would be as many as 15-20 cars- and slowly make our way around the back roads of the surrounding church community.  People knew we were coming... they would wait up for us.  Different ones would offer hot chocolate and cookies along the way Many times till the end of the night it would be 10:30pm or later till we were finished caroling.  .ahhh, but more fun was still to come.

I can remember if it was really cold - towards the end of the night - the numbers of carolers singing, out on the front lawns, would dwindle as we were getting too cold...or else we would just sit out every other stop so that we could warm up.  I can still hear the song leader encourage us to "gather in closer, sing louder - maybe the folks inside can't hear us- watch where you walk...etc." and he would lead out in a verse or two of 4-5 Christmas songs,  always ending in ...
"We wish you a Blessed Christmas, we wish you a Blessed Christmas, We wish you a Blessed Christmas and a Joyous New Year.  Glad tidings we bring to you and your kin.  Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year. "
  and then the whole crowd would shout out "MERRY CHIRSTMAS!!"... I am whelling up just thinking about all of this.  There is something  to be said about sharing with people in this way that is so endearing.  We never got turned away - unless, obviously, if the people weren't home.  This was just one way to spread the Gospel and it was just so much JOY! to watch their smiling faces, bobbing heads to the music and even joining in with us at times. 

Ahh... so heading back to the church/auxilary building was always so exciting for us, as kids.  We knew that their would be a blazing hot fire in the fireplace and that "someone" had made a huge pinata and had filled it FULL with candy.  And, everyone got at least two swings at it.  When the big guys got up to bat - look out!!  We all wondered; "Who was going to break the pinata, this year?"

For refreshments, there was always leftover cookies and fruit from the making of the fruit baskets... and hot chocolate and coffee for everyone.  Fun, fun FUN!!!

But two more memories stick out in my mind.  Two different years - but something similiar.  And that was one year we got home, as a family, late one Christmas Eve night... and (we never locked our doors when we left the house, back in the day) we about tripped over several VERY large boxes, full of gifts from someone whom we'll never know.  Another year we found boxes and bags of groceries in our vehicle... people leaving an impact on our family and blessing us in more ways then they themselves will ever know. 

God's Love - brings out the best in everyone... and it is easily relived through our Christmas Memories.  I can't wait to instill in our little ones - traditions and memories that will live on and on in their hearts...  As I was sharing all of these things with my Mother -in-law, and Scott was listening in as well (he was driving, so he had no choice) - I was immediately so overwhelmed with gratitude for my heritage and Christian upbringing.  I have honest memories that Scott does NOT share in... no fault of his or his mother's... it's just a fact of life.  He has memories too, but oh so different.  I just swallowed the lump in my throat and looked out the window to the passing neighborhoods that brought on more memories as we headed to ther farm where the "Nativity" was to be held... this was my old stumping ground... where I had my first job.... and oh, how the memories kept rolling.
I have one prayer request - please- Would you all keep us in your thoughts and prayers - as a family, we are all coughing/hacking, and have runny noses... ect.  Christmas is to be here at our house this year, and we all would like to be better.  thanks!

: :  What kinds of memories do you have surrounding Christmas??  Please feel free to leave a short memory in the comments, I would love to hear some of them. 


  1. Oh no, ya'll don't need no stinkin' flu for the holidays. This Ozarks chick is parting the clouds with prayers of wellness for your family. May you all have a very Merry and healthy Christmas.

    God bless ya'll!!!

  2. Peace, Love, Joy and Friendship to you.
    Merry Christmas!

  3. Thanks for taking me down memory lane. Good times we had and still have!



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