My Mother’s Christmas…
Christmastime always brings me to think about my good mother. She loved Christmas, as much or more than anyone, I suppose. One of the things she liked most about Christmas was giving. She spent months in my childhood picking just the right toys that would bring smiles to the faces of my four siblings and I. She loved watching us open our presents. She insisted we open them one at a time so she could enjoy every precious smile, every laugh, every cheer. It was the giving that brought her greatest joy.
Mom had great artistic talents. Later in life she hand made most of our gifts. She painted, worked in ceramics, and put personalized designs on shirts and sweaters for us. These gifts have remained great treasures.
It was not to save money or time that she chose making things as opposed to buying them. I figure these things cost much more in the fine materials she used than the toys of our youth. She resorted to making our special and thoughtful gifts, because she could spend more time in the giving of them than going to the store.
Yes, my mother loved Christmas. As a child I do not remember ever hearing of a Black Friday. If it existed back then, none of us in the Malcolm home were aware of it. The thing I remember most about the day after Thanksgiving is not shopping, football, or even leftover turkey for sandwiches. That day was reserved for awakening to the sounds of Christmas music playing from Mom’s stereo console. Burl Ives, Perry Como, Nat King Cole, the Osmond Brothers, Elvis Presley, Andy Williams and the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, could all be heard echoing through the halls of my home, coming from old LPs. The best part of all was Mom’s voice, a beautiful soprano singing as if she belonged on the record, like an angel.
Along with other traditions, as music rang through the season, a spirit warmed our home that is never to be forgotten, truly the Spirit of Christmas as it emanated from my mother, a true believer in that day of days.
When all of us kids grew up and started our own little families, Mom still remained the biggest advocate of Christmas. Because most of us came from a bigger family than our spouses, our primary Christmas gathering continued with my mother. She was always so kind to our in-laws, having thoughtful gifts for each of them. She truly had the Spirit of Christmas.
This will be the 26th Christmas that I have spent without my mother. But some things live on. The day after Thanksgiving my children always hear Christmas carols ringing through our home. Like the days of my youth, it is not a day for bargain hunting, but more a day for worship, White Friday, if you will. Along with decorating and other traditions, like baking goodies and caroling at the homes of friends, it is much the way that Christmas was always kept by her.
“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!”
When I think of my mother and Christmas, it causes me to reflect on Charles Dickens gifted masterpiece, “A Christmas Carol.” It may sound strange to liken my mother to the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, but it is not the Scrooge of the early story that causes my comparison. In the closing paragraph of the book it says of Ebenezer “that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.” My mother possessed the knowledge of keeping Christmas well, and she lived it, she did not need three visitors to teach her the way. It is something that her heart always knew, and something she never betrayed.
Christmas is truly my favorite time of year. Christ is the very center and meaning of Christmas, and it is thoughts of Him, and the gifts He gave us all, that bring me the greatest joy at this time and always.
In thinking upon that first Christmas I share the rejoicing of angels who declared, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. …Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:10-11, 14).
May Christmas always be kept well by you and yours. While trials may daily beset us, let us be focused on those things that are the most important and most dear. May blessings continue to abound in our lives, and may the goodness of our own homes be spread to those who have not known so much as we. May we share the message of peace and good will, a pronouncement made by angels proclaiming the birth of the King. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He has redeemed His people. In His sacred name I share these things and wish you Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. “God bless Us, Every One!”