Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Is Love...

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time."

~Laura Ingalls Wilder~
(All graphics in this post are courtesy of Karen's Whimsy)

Last night as I sat, legs outstretched warming myself in front of the fireplace, my sidekick Sophie stretching herself the length of my legs, a weaving loom in one hand and a strand of yarn and hook in the other watching a sappy Hallmark Christmas movie, a small crack in my memory bank opened leaving my heart feeling tender and sentimental. The true spirit of Christmas visited me and for the first time in a long time I wanted to write of the memories again.

The movie reminded me of my roots and Christmas' past in The Old House. That was what my grandmothers house of my childhood was called, The Old House. Some might have looked upon it in wonder or amazement that it was referred to as a house with its small stature and lack of modern amenities. For all it lacked in size and convenience it more than made up for those things in the love that lived within its walls, the laughter that rang from it, and and the memories that now spring from it.
It was a scant three room house with a little porch on the front built by the hands of my grandfather, a man I never met, from hard oak timber that had silvered with age. The roof was of tin that had long ago lost its sparkle and had weathered to a nice rusty patina and was the perfect thing to lie under on a rainy evening as raindrops pinged off of it. Both the front and side doors were screened with wood framed doors that sprung back on the hinges with a delightful creak. I can still hear the the stretched out sound as it was opened wide and the thump as it sprung back in place inevitably followed by a voice from within the recesses warning not to slam the door.

Wood framed windows with wavy old glass let in plenty of light and cool breezes. I remember those windows best shining out into the darkness welcoming us in, a kerosene lamp placed on a table in one of the front windows burning low to light the front path so we would not stumble in the pitch black of night when we arrived as we did almost every Friday night.

I would already have had my bath and be in my pajamas, robe, and slippers when we left for the hour and a half drive so that I could be tucked into bed as soon as we got there. I napped on the way so that when we arrived I could lay in my grandmothers big iron framed bed with its crisp white fresh ironed sheets that smelled of sunshine, wide awake, and listening to the stories floating around the big front room.
Voices talking in hushed tones, air occasionally punctuated by chuckles and outright laughter followed by my grandmother scolding not to wake up the babies, referring to my cousin and myself, she knowing full well that we were snuggled up under her handmade quilt stifling our own giggles and whispers. We heard about the neighbors, the crops and the livestock, who was married, who was buried, and who welcomed a new addition to the family. Hungry news for eager listeners who had been miles away in another town, living other lives, wishing the week away so that they could return home for a scant day and a half.

The Old House was a familiar friend of my childhood and I wish it were still standing at the foot of the hill under the sprawling oak with its kerosene lamp giving out a golden glow welcoming me home for Christmas. I wish all the voices of my childhood could still be heard ~ the shushing sound of my grandmother and the hearty chuckle of my uncle who both now reside in heaven. I long to hear the thump of Old Mickey's tail on the porch and the creak of my grandmothers rocker as the aunts and uncles and my mother converse in the big front room around the pot belly stove. I wish to lie in my grandmothers big bed gazing out the window at the stars making wishes and watching them shoot across the sky as my cousin and I whisper.
The true spirit of Christmas is love, pure and simple, love. It was an act of love that built The Old House, a man providing shelter for his family. It was an act of love that four children were raised there. It was an act of love that drew them home to gather there almost every weekend. It was an act of love that a lamp was left lit to light the way in the darkness so the family could find their way home.

So it is with the true meaning and celebration of Christmas, the birth of Christ, the ultimate act of love, pure, simple, love. It was an act of love that the God of heaven would provide a shelter some would not see as suitable for habitation, just like The Old House might have been seen, for a tiny baby to be born in. It was an act of love that he would be raised in the humblest of surroundings, just like my grandmothers children were. It was an act of love that drew others to him, just as The Old House drew our family to it. It was an act of love that Jesus was the lamp that God left on to light the way in the darkness so that those who are lost there can find their way into the family and into the welcoming light of home, just as The Old House welcomed our family.

Yes, the true spirit of Christmas did indeed visit me as I sat and pondered in wonder and amazement that Christmas is love and for the first time in a long time I wanted to write of the memories again.May the Christ of Christmas fill your hearts with all the joy this season holds and all the love it cannot contain but must be spilled out in acts of love.

Christmas Blessings,
Miss Sandy

16 comments:

Mildred said...

Thank you for sharing your precious memories of Christmas' past and the real meaning of the spirit of Christmas. God bless you and your family Sandy.

The Feathered Nest said...

Such a precious post dear friend ~ your memories are just wonderful and your message so very true....wishing you a great week dear friend, hugs and love, Dawn

Catherine Holman said...

Amen.
Such an amazing way with words! Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas.
Hugs,
Cathie

Linda said...

Oh my goodness Sandy, I'm reading this while at my office and I can barely read through it without crying. It's so lovely, such a gift to all of us. Thank you so much for sharing these stories and the truth of Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Love, Linda ♥

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Ah you began with one of my favorite Christmas quotes.

Here's to old Christmas memories kept precious in our hearts and minds and to the new that will be made.

Celestial Charms said...

What a lovely heartfelt post. I'm happy you have the spirit stiring in you soul and have shared it with us.
Maureen

sonya said...

Thank you so much for sharing another wonderful memory with us. And spreading the CHRISTmas Spirit too!God bless you~ Sonya

Laurie said...

What a lovely post! Merry Christmas to you, too!

BellaRosa said...

Sandy what a truly beautiful post of your wonderful memories, I wish for you this Christmas and througout the year that when you sleep you dream of this beautiful place...the old house and get to visit with your loved ones..because for me, dreams help me stay connected to people, places and things that I so miss and bring them back into my hearts eye, where I can cherish them more often :) Besos, Rose

KathyB. said...

It wasn't so very long ago was it..that precious time you enjoyed the warmth of such family gatherings in a HOME that meant all the very best of the words "home" and "family" contain.

I remember gathering in my grandparents' small homes with lots of family and somehow the small homes were never too small to hold loved ones, yet by today's standards they aren't even big enough for a family or 4...seems we have lost perspective on wants and needs and we all look for that special "home' and "family" that God provides for us in Him. Beautiful post Miss Sandy.

Diane said...

Sandy, how heartfelt your words are. Thank you!
Diane

Jodie LeJeune said...

Sandy, this is a beautiful post. I love your Christmas Story and the words totally flowed from your heart. I'm so happy that you shared it with us so that we can reflect on the true meaning also...one we tend to forget at times. Thank you!!
everything vintage

Charlene said...

What a sweet story Sandy & you told it straight from you heart. Thank you dear friend for reminding ous of the important things of the season. Merry Christmas! Hugs! Charlene

Lynn Richards said...

Sandy, I just found your blog from Karen over at Desert Cottage. I'm so glad I did!! Your story of memories is beautiful and your blog, well. So much fun to look at!!
Lynn
alittlebluesky.blogspot.com

Sharon said...

Thank you for this post.It really does capture the meaning of christmas so well. Have wonderful memories this year. Sharon

Vee said...

I have never spent a night in your grandmother's home, but I certainly was transported there via your wonderful memories. Do you suppose any of Heaven is a re-creation of those nurturing homes? Sometimes the thought of mansions is too much for me to contemplate. (Oh, and if this one is not submitted for publication somewhere for 2010, it needs to be!)

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