So, it is almost Christmas. The dust flew today like little bunnies when a squirrels are chasing. The red ribbons dance in the light of the Christmas lights in the windows, the sky beyond the window is dark and dreary. But there is anticipation in the air. Even though the house isn’t ready and thepeppernuts aren’t baked, Christmas is coming.
In the post office I mailed a package to China Monday, and heard the clerk say, “You would think people don’t remember that Christmas comes every year on the 25th!” So true, and yet every year people rush to and fro trying to prepare in their way for Christmas.
This year I am reading Angela Hunt’s intriquing book, “Nativity”, based on the movie. The birth of the Saviour, the Messiah, is imminent and yet she travels on foot or on the donkey to Bethlehem. Recalling the agony of movement in the last 30 days prior to birth, my heart went out to Mary. A sacrifice of love is what she gave to all of us, for that love is Jesus Christ, the son of the Living God. Angela artfully brings me into the story and the times and the culture of that day. As the book wends its way to the last page, I read slower, for I don’t want the story to end. Yet I know that Jesus, born so long ago, lives on, and the story won’t be finished until He comes again for His own.
Somehow for three Sundays I have played for the services and the one song that has been repeated in some way is “Silent Night.” No other song brings so many memories to me as that one song. As I play it, I hear my Mother playing it, I hear my Grandpa Suderman leading Stille Nacht, I hear my Uncle Eli and Aunt Bernice singing it. Then when I was 13 years old, Mother taught me to sing the obligato to Silent Night. As I played the obligato part with the praise team, my heart soared with the melody, the soft twinkling lights on the tree, and the voices of family in my heart.
The peppernuts. Pefferneuse in German and phonetically – papanait – in Plautdeich. More memories assailed me as I assembled the ingredients and began adding them to Mom’s worn aluminum mixing bowl. Somehow, after Mom died, I inherited this dented, worn large bowl. I remembered when Mom told me I could mix the chocolate cake with a wooden spoon on the wooden counter in the kitchen at South 14th in Clinton, OK. What fun, I could help Mom. And then I noticed that if I didn’t hold the bowl it would spin on its own. The cake wasn’t getting mixed, but this was fun, faster and faster. Then to my horror, the bowl spun off the counter and plopped upside down on the linoleum. I stared, not sure what retribution I would receive, but I had to tell Mom. She came, took in the look on my face, grabbed a clean bowl and a spatula and began scooping up the dough, skimming the spatula just short of the floor. I don’t remember that she said or did much, but I knew I shouldn’t play in the kitchen. The cake was smaller, but delicious.
I let my Grosmom Siemens know that she shouldn’t play when she lived with us. She used the hand eggbeater in the dishwasher to see how high the bubbles would get. “Grosmom, Momma doesn’t want us to play when we are washing the dishes.” Of course, when I cut up the chicken, it didn’t stop me from doing an experiment. I heard that the intestines were quite long. I found them in the chicken, pulled them out and strung them along that wooden counter and measured them. I have forgotten what they measured, but I let my teacher and my students know!
Yes, Christmas is a time of memories. And as we prepare food and the house for two of our children and their families to come, the memories crowd into my mind. This Christmas will be special, for one of our granddaughters, Sarah, is expecting her first baby. This will be our 5th great-grandchild, and each one is so exciting and so loved. This great-grandchild will come visiting before he or she makes an experience. And I remember how my grandmothers and great-grandmothers rejoiced when I made an appearance in their lives. The Hearts of Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers grow to wrap each new child in love. Such joy at Christmas.
May your Christmas be filled with joy and His love and sweet memories of Past Christmases while making new memories with those about you! In Jesus we have the promise of freedom and love, and it is His birth that we celebrate.