Most Memorable Christmas
By: Janette Rallison
I have plenty of nice Christmas memories: The time a bus full of strangers all sang Christmas carols together for no other reason than it was Christmas Eve. The time my family delivered Christmas presents to a family in need. After we left the presents on the porch and doorbell ditched the house, we watched their little children come outside and search the sky for Santa Claus. I’ve forgotten most of the presents I received over the years, but I remember laying in the living room every year, lights off, just enjoying the glow of the Christmas tree.
Perhaps my most memorable Christmas is the one that happened after my mother died of cancer. I was about six. I say about, because I don’t know the date my mother died. I remember the day. It was a Saturday morning, but I can’t tell you what time of year it was. I’ve purposely not asked and not looked at any documents that would tell me. It’s not an anniversary I want to note on the calendar every year.
My father said we weren’t going to have a Christmas tree that year. He just couldn’t do a big Christmas. I can imagine how overwhelmed he felt, alone with four children to raise—and in all likelihood he was angry at God for taking his wife. At least, I would be. Still, at six years old, I had perfect faith that we would have a Christmas tree. Christmas trees were part of Christmas, and Christmas was coming.
We did end up getting a tree. I remember, perfectly preserved the way some memories are, the pastor of our church showing up at our house and taking the tree inside. “I know what you said about not getting a tree this year,” he told my father. “But I had to bring one. If it’s okay, I’ll set it up.”
How could my father say no? Four children were suddenly jumping around the living room with glee. Or at least I was.
We got presents too. Once a night, sometimes twice, the doorbell rang and a stack of presents would be on our doorstep. We never caught anyone, but we figured it was members of the church.
It wasn’t that we were poor. My father could afford to buy us the presents that we wanted. But it was still a Christmas miracle. Because it meant people remembered, that they were thinking of us, that they cared.
This year I’m super busy. I’m behind on a writing deadline, my husband is out of town, and I have five kids to shop for. The dishes in the sink never end, the library books are overdue, and it’s been so long since my dog had a haircut that she looks like the abominable snow dog. It would be easy for me to rush through this season, but I think this quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf sums it up: In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance.
This year, be the answer to someone’s prayers.
Find a little magic. Read My Fair Godmother
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