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Last evening was our families Christmas celebration and dinner at my Debbie's Mom and Dad's home just across the pasture from our home.It is truly nice not to have to be so far from your loved ones or be on the road for hours in bad weather. Our family has truly blessed beyond measure and I offer my thanks to God for this!
After a meal fit for kings and queens, everyone retired to the massive den where the Christmas Tree stood with all the beautiful presents wrapped to perfection and placed underneath! After choosing our only grandson to pass these presents out to everyone, I placed myself in a good spot to watch all the smiles and hear all of the childish laughter, even those coming from the children at different times. Seeing children happy and pleasent is worth a Sultan's ransom in my mind, especially in the times we now live in and surely is a gift from heaven!.
As I watched all the activity and heard all the sounds, I found myself drifting back to a time long past, a time where things moved at a much slower pace,even for the "grown-ups" of the day. I could hear the voices of our family long since removed to a far better place just as if I were right back in the middle of our one bedroom garage apartment in the country where all four of us shared our meager assigned spaces. There was more love inside that little home than all the castles in Europe and I would not have changed a single thing looking back now! It's amazing now, but I never felt like we were too crowded, too poor or too out of touch but then again, what does a child of 4 years old understand in the final stages of a world war unleashed?
The head of our family was my "Uncle Roy", a man I still worship for all his goodness, talents, and above all, his personal relationship with The Almighty God I would come to serve many years later. Evereyone who knew this wonderful man saw him as a "Fixer of all things man-made" and would bring their broken items to him to be repaired if possible. In those hard times few folks could afford to discard anything if it broke as we do today due in part over the War Rationing in force at that time. Our society has missed so much by becoming a nation of "Throw-away stuff, homes, cars and at times even throw-away people!
When Uncle Roy returned home from work most days, he would go down to his workshop and start fixing "stuff" people had dropped off or he would be building things for our familys needs.This year he decided to go all out and make everyones Christmas presents because there was barely enough money to go around just for the barest of essentials much less for any "extras" because there was a terrible War going on and everybody had to "Do their part for the War effort"! I remember my grandmother saying to the other ladies who gathered together after church services, and I quote;" I would rather hear God save the king that hear about the war effort again." She had good cause for this was her second "World War" to endure plus all her sons were in the service as well.
On Christmas Eve, in the year of our Lord 1945', I was a proud 4 year old boy who felt that I would bust wide open if I didn't get to open presents soon. We had a very small Christmas Tree someone had given us and it was full of hand-made rows of colored popcorn all strung together and ornaments from my grandpartents collection. As I remember it, we had the most beautiful Christmas Tree in the whole world and I could still see and smell it when I closed my eyes last evening! No child ever had it so good as I did that cold, Christmas Eve surrounded with family, food, presents and baby Jesus under our tree! My Uncle Roy had hand-carved Him from a picture at church and it was always a centerpart to all the trees I can remenber.
When it came time to open presents, I waited until my name was called by my grandmother who did the "passing" as she called it with great hopes of something big and new! Suddenly it was MY time and I went to the tree and there was the most wonderful train with all its different cars the english-speaking world had ever witnessed, and it was all MINE! It had an engine, coal and water car,passenger cars plus a caboose all painted bright red and black! I had a few other presents of hand-made cloths but my train was the center of my little world that Chrismas Eve night and for many more to come because my Uncle Roy had built it himself just for ME. Yes, I not only thought I was special, I knew I was special and to this very day I can still smell the fresh paint on my train, all made out of veggie cans, metal clothes hangers with hand-carved wooden seats and wheels with a long pull-string! For those of you who might be wondering IF I really liked it, well I slept with it for a week after I received it! Amen
Now our grandchildren are home safe in their own beds, their new toys all tossed in their toybox or wherever for this is the modern way the average American family operates nowdays I suppose. As I sit here thinking back to the days I've just shared with you, my Freedom Connecter family, I can only hope and indeed pray each of them will someday be able to look back on their special Christmas Eve, and have someone to share their story with! It would be a bitter shame IF they didn't no?
Now, all those wonderful, loving family members have been called home to be with their Heavenly Father and somehow I know in my very soul they too remember that little child who recieved his brand new train in that one bedroom garage apartment in the year of our Lord 1945'! Just maybe I too was a small part of "The War Effort"!
"Laus Deo & Shalom"
Thank you. This is a wonderful memory. Your uncle was a talented man, just like Santa in his workshop. It just goes to show we don't need thousands of dollars to have a great Christmas. I wish I had a baby Jesus to put under my tree. I do have one as a tree ornament, though, so I will be content with that.
I was a sickly child and I remember many of my Christmasses were spent in bed Many years my parents bought two small Christmas trees for our bedrooms. We didn't have all the antibioitics we have now days. We did have warmth and love. Also today all my brothers and sisters are alive.
Thank you, Pastor Ron, for your intimate account of a Christmas past. Your Uncle Roy was a gem.
You have reminded me of a tradition still continued in my house today.
Many years ago when our children were young, we purchased a very old handmade wood train from auction. Someone put in much time and effort in their wormanship and it has become one of our treasured pieces. I had some fun with it and filled the cars with miniature santas, sat some on the roof and had others jumping out the windows.
My childhood memories all revolve around growing up on a Dairy farm, where work days were long seven days of the week. And yes I remember World War 2 also; while we did not have a lot of extravagant Christmas gifts, we always had plenty to eat, and all the necessities of life. However I can not remember ever being disappointed with either what we had, or what we didn't have. We worked hard, lived a simple life, followed the scriptures, and enjoyed our quiet times together.
My childhood memories all revolve around growing up on a Dairy farm, where work days were long seven days of the week. And yes I remember World War 2 also; while we did not have a lot of extravagant Christmas gifts, we always had plenty to eat, and all the necessities of life. However I can not remember ever being disappointed with either what we had, or what we didn't have. We worked hard, lived a simple life, followed the scriptures, and enjoyed our quiet times together. I see families with kids today which pile on so many toys for Christmas, that their kids can not appreciate any of them; and soon they all become broken, lost, or just thrown away. I believe that we were much happier when we got a new pair of mittens, or a sweater for Christmas, than what I see in children today. I can understand fully what the apostle Shaul was saying in; Php 4:11 "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:" Truly to be rich in Yeshua blessings is more than sufficient. Shalom!
Lovely. Just lovely.
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