”The magic of Christmas never ends, and its greatest gift is family and friends.”
This sentence was on a Christmas card, and it pulls together our thoughts about the holiday that is coming back into our lives in just a matter of days now. To put it another way, I read this verse somewhere, too: “Christmas is special. It’s filled with good cheer. That’s why its memories last year after year.”
The good memories we have about Christmases do last year after year after year. Sometimes when you are experiencing an event, it becomes more meaningful as time passes. Usually you are not aware when you are doing something that it will become a special memory later on. In other words, you just never know when you are making a memory.
Who knew that when my mom turned on the lights of our Christmas tree when I was in the second grade, that the memory of seeing that tree light up, would still hold a spot somewhere deep inside my brain these many years later? Think about some of your Christmas memories. Do Christmas songs play a part in your wonderful memories? Soon after our church choir sang “Mary Did You Know?”, written by Mark Lowry, it went on to become one of the best new Christmas songs.
I’m sure you are aware that a lot of our favorite Christmas songs have been around since before color TV.
I was told about a young man named Tim, with early on-set Alzheimer’s, being taken to church and was able to recite every word of every prayer that he had recited earlier in his life. Or, another man who knew every word of the songs he had sung before Alzheimer’s set in.
Dr. Douglas Scharre of the OSU Medical Center published this statement in the “Columbus Monthly“ in 2010: “Music is linked to old memories, which are stored multiple times deep in the brain, in parts not affected by the Alzheimer’s. Familiar music brings joy and tranquility.”
While we are on the topic of music at church, we should all let the organists/pianists know how much we appreciate all the practicing they do to prepare the beautiful music that we take for granted while sitting and enjoying the wonderful familiar music that makes Christmas feel so good.
Attending Christmas Eve services is a special time for everyone. Especially when many churches have everyone holding lighted candles during the singing of the closing hymn, “Silent Night.” If you haven’t attended such a service lately, plan on attending this year.
The anticipation is the best part of a celebration. Whether all the things you hope for, come true or not, it’s fun to think about. While growing up in a house with six siblings, there were always lots of gifts under the tree. Most gifts were inexpensive things we bought, or something we made. In our younger years, we each bought one thing for each of the other members of our family. I don’t remember anything I ever received, but what I still treasure are the moments while we were all together opening them. A wonderful quote I read in the “Real Simple” magazine last year was about a group of professional people who had asked some 4 to 8 year olds, “What does the word ‘Love’ mean?” One of the boys replied: “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas, if you stop opening presents and listen.”
In the few days remaining before Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, there will be a lot of rushing around going on. Before I get busy, I want to add another few words that I read in an old Charlie Brown comic strip. It was a picture of the characters standing outside around a decorated tree. And one of them said, “It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters, it’s who’s around it.” So, let’s all take a lesson from Charlie Brown and be thankful for the people in our lives who are family and friends who are going to be around us this Christmas.
Merry Christmas, and enjoy the magic of Christmas that never ends.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.