A week from today (when I'm writing the column) will be Christmas. Today is very stormy. This morning it snowed lots of big flakes. I know that for a lot of people, they dread these conditions. Probably for most of them, if they can afford it, they go to Florida but if the rest of them are like me, they love it! When I wake up in the morning and look out the window and the tree branches are all outlined with soft, white snow, I see nature at its best. I love nature and I feel sorry for the people who are never aware of it or enjoy it.
It was weather like this on Christmas Eve of 1978. Someone had given us a sleigh. Our son Rusty and his family (2 little girls ages 4 and 2) were visiting us so Rusty and Dan put on some boots, bundled the girls and wrapped them up in the sleigh. Then they became horses and pulled the sleigh up and down White St. My sisters and I watched from the porch. We never forgot that night especially since it was Rusty's last Christmas.
Russ and I had given Barb and Rusty a small organ. We stood around Barb and sang Christmas Carols.
Later in the evening Nin St. George dressed in a Santa suit and came bearing gifts. Our granddaughter Charlene cried every time she opened a box with clothes and shouted "I want toys!" Some things never change!
Rusty said, "Gee Mom, how are we ever going to top this?" We never did, but aren't memories great?
I look back and see Russ and Nin, my sisters Rose and Louise are all gone. Jo and I are the only two left. Fortunately she has children and grandchildren around and even one great-grandson. They include me in all the festivities. Thanks!
I have a lot of "adopted" families. My "son," John Yager, came over last week and put up my tree for me. He does this every year. We leave the lights on the tree (not lit) because that's a big job. Then I put on all gold ornaments. Rose left a lot of them. Then I decorate the fireplace and put garland and ornaments on the furniture. I love to turn off my lights and then plug in the tree. Then I know Christmas is coming soon.
Last Sunday at church we had an unexpected treat. Two Chinese students from SUNY showed their musical talents. One played the violin, ever so sweetly and the other sang. When she hit that last high note, my nose started to prickle and then the tears came. It was just too beautiful for words! I'm sorry they waited so long. The violinist is a senior. Dr. Mark Guy, who is on the music staff of Fredonia is the church music director.
The decorations and the music add so much to the festivities, but we never forget the true meaning of Christmas! I know we revere Mary because she was so special. What could compare to being chosen mother of the son of God? But I often feel we neglect Joseph. Men, by nature, are very proud. Imagine being put in a position where your fiancee is pregnant and you aren't the father, but Joseph believed the Angel of God and stayed true to Mary. He was a great father and taught Jesus how to be a skilled carpenter. But I'm sure he and Mary taught Jesus how to be loving, kind and humble, when we stop to think that he was willing to die for us while we were still sinners. For those that believe they have to give something up or do a great deed to be saved, doesn't Jesus' sacrifice prove that he did it all for us even while we were yet sinners? What a lesson in forgiveness! Are you holding a hurt or anger against someone for what they did? If you are, you're only hurting yourself. Do yourself a favor and let go. If each one does this our communities will be a better place to live!