From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ghosts of Christmas Past (8)

All In The Family... Another Trip Down Memory Lane...




The following story of a snowy Christmas eve is a Christmas memory in two ways. It recalls a Christmas of my childhood, and it also brings to mind the Christmas of 2000 when I wrote this for a little keepsake book and special website that members of my church made.

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I HAVE A BEAUTIFUL MEMORY of a Christmas Eve when I was about eight years old. A dry snow was falling that night and several inches of white powder lay on the ground by the time we read the Bible story of Jesus's birth and opened our gifts.

Our Christmas packages held new ice skates and mine were white. We were so anxious to try them that we couldn't wait until morning light! We laced on our skates while my father got a shovel and pushed back the snow on the little pond in the milkcow pasture. Then, with a million tiny snowflakes sparkling in the yardlight and dancing away into the long quiet shadows, we skated.

I outgrew those skates in a year or two, but the best gift my parents gave me that Christmas is still with me -- the happy memory of the utter joy and beauty of that night. God's great love for us shines through happy memories like this, lifting our spirits and warming our hearts each time He brings them to mind.

This is my 49th Christmas. [That was in 2000. In 2006, it's now my 55th Christmas!] Through the years, I have had times of walking "through the valley of the shadow of death" as well as times of walking "beside the still waters". Sometimes, I could only pray, "O Lord, you know!" and hand my heartaches and fears over to God.

Still, as I look back over the years, I see God's great love for me shining brightly through each of them. I thank Him for my savior, Jesus, and for the joy of celebrating Christmas! I thank Him for each day of my life and for all He has provided for me. He has brought me this far and He will lead me on.

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3 comments:

Patrushka said...

What a beautiful memory! I have a similar one about ice skating in the twilight on the frozen river behind our home when we first moved to snow country.
When I had cancer I spent a lot of time in the long dark nights thinking about beautiful memories in my life. I started writing them down in case I'd get to the point where my memory didn't work so well. I needed them to get me through the Valley of the Shadows. I am so thankful I did that. Now I have my special "treasure box of truly beautiful things."

Have a blessed Christmas, dear Genevieve!

Wrkinprogress said...

Genevieve, thank you for all the virtual companionship you've provided me this year, along with great new things to ponder, beautiful photos to enjoy, and the knowledge that the world is indeed filled with wonderful people -- and you are one of them. :)

Much love, and the merriest of Christmases to you and yours. Here's to peace in the coming year.

Genevieve said...

Thank you, ladies, for your good wishes. It has been a nice Christmas. I hope yours have been good as well.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.