I look back to so many wonderful Christmas memories. My mind turns to a few painful ones as well. As we are celebrating the newborn life of our Savior, our lives continue to live themselves out – and it ain’t always eggnog and candy canes. Some Christmases I’ve wished would linger and some I’ve “Merry Christmas’d” my way through to get to January. All of those Christmases and all of the memories that came with them are a part of my story.
My first thought as I began writing this post about memories was that I hope to have some. Sadly, there are loved ones in my life who have trouble remembering. It scares me a little to think about losing my memory. This may have something to do with why I love taking pictures. If I can capture the moment in an image, maybe I won’t forget it. Or at least if I capture the moment, others can help me remember if I ever don’t. But on the happier side of things, I hope I continue to make some great memories along the way and I hope I pay attention enough to hold on to them.
On this day after Christmas, I’m thinking about a few memories I hope to have one day to add to all the ones I already have.
I hope I remember many Christmases when I’m old I and sitting close with my old husband, holding each other’s wrinkled hands and drinking mulled wine in front of the fireplace in our comfortable introverted quiet way. Maybe in our living room or maybe in an accidental pub like the one in this picture we happened to walk into in Oamaru, New Zealand.
I hope I remember many Christmases of being content in our empty nest and being proud of how our kids have filled theirs. I hope I don’t forget how much we enjoyed doing our own thing at Christmas when ours were little. I hope I have memories of traveling to them or doing whatever it takes to make life easier for them as they do the crazy Christmas chaos thing with their littles. I hope I remember how they appreciated our willingness to be flexible and okay with however it works out best for them from year to year.
I hope I remember many Christmases of having a house FULL of our kids and grandkids and dogs and noises and unmade beds and “will somebody bring me a towel?!?” and all things out of place and smells coming from the kitchen that ooze of tradition.
I hope I remember Christmases that were painful. Yes, you read that right. I’ve often said that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. I hope to be really strong one day. Not because I welcome pain but because I welcome the learning and the growing that comes from it. Experiencing pain can also make us more compassionate towards others if we choose it to. I hope to remember my pain so I can tell others, “You’re going to be okay. You can make it.” Because I am and I did.
I hope I remember many joy-filled Christmases. We don’t always get what we hoped for out of life but we can always find joy in it somewhere whether we’re looking with wide-eyed wonder or through squinted eyes. I hope I can look back on the good and the bad and remember choosing joy.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:10-11
Jesus is the bringer of joy, the giver of joy, the sustainer of joy – He is joy. If we have Jesus, we can have Joy no matter what our circumstances are.
What memories do you hope will be a part of your story one day?
I’ve linked up again this week with my friend, Kelly, and a host of other blogging friends who are posting about their Christmas memories. Kelly’s piece on what Mary Remembers from her first Christmas is so thoughtful and beautiful. I hope you’ll take the time to read it and click on some of the others who have linked up.