Thursday, December 5, 2013
Advent Journey: On Remembering
Christmas is full of memories. At some point over the season, we will talk about how things used to be. Remember when....? With the current "retro" obsession we have right now, I am constantly being reminded of the Christmases of my childhood. I can scarcely open a magazine or read a blog without seeing something that I recognise from those days. I still have a few things myself - the original Christmas tree fairy from my parents' home, a fabulous black party dress from the 1980s, and this handsome chap in the picture. This is Bernie, one of my very first Christmas presents, and he's been with me ever since. We've done a lot together over the years, Bernie and I - he took the place of a pet dog as I was growing up - his kind face always seemed so understanding. I remember trying to make my fortune with him, selling rides to the neighbourhood children - a penny to the nearest lamppost, tuppence to the end of the street. I loved him as if he was a real dog - and to me he was. When I grew up, my children played with him too - although I do remember Karen crashing into the doorstep and breaking a tooth! Now he is still here with us - a wee bit weather beaten, but always making me smile whenever I see him
Dental emergencies aside - I am lucky that my childhood memories are happy ones. But, now that the years have moved on - particularly with my mother's passing, they have a bittersweet edge and I can feel homesick for a time and place that is no longer there. We bring all kinds of memories with us on this life journey: happy, sad, poignant, long forgotten and half buried. We have been shaped and moulded by these past experiences, and in their assimilation we become who we are.
Advent is about memory. As we progress through the days towards Christmas, we remember why we are celebrating. The birth of the Saviour - the coming of Hope to a troubled world. We commemorate the Nativity by coming together to watch our children in those familiar plays and pageants, sing well-loved carols and celebrate with each other. But it is also a time to look forward to His coming - to remember God's loving promise - that He will always be with us.