Christmas, 2010 (Revised)
Sit back and read, then reflect about your own Christmas past. I hope yours is as heartwarming as Dr. Colemans’. I don’t believe mine was. – Bob
The box was crushed on one end. We thought surely the contents were ruined. The box was neatly tied with a piece of broadcloth cut into a ribbon. I recognized my Grandmother’s handwriting; Granny Coleman had written simply, “Christmas, 1944.”
Only one of the Christmas ornaments was broken; the other eleven were as they had been almost 50 years before, when Granny had closed the box and tied it gingerly to store away.
The note inside read: “December 31 – Today Aunt and I undecorated the tree. Wonder where I’ll be this time next year. In the great beyond perhaps.”
Granny was not in the great beyond the next year, for the first note was crossed through and a new note had been written, exactly like the first but with a new date, “December 31, 1945.”
It was so ironic. The box, bought probably at the local “5 &10” store for no more than 29 cents, had a tag, MADE IN JAPAN. World War II raged and in the midst of it Granny put up the tree to remember the Prince of Peace and to celebrate God’s love!
Granny Coleman loved Christmas, loved cooking her many colored cakes – never white, but red and green with various kinds of icings – loved decorating the tree, and loved the true meaning of the season.
We grew up with the Granny Coleman tradition, loving everything about Christmas – trees, ornaments, presents, family times, the Bible stories of the “real reason for the season,” and all five (Larry was born after Granny died) of us Grand kids running here and there, excited about “the coming of Christmas.”
Granny died in 1947 (I don’t know what happened to 1946, but these ornaments were obviously not used that year), and the box had been stored away in Daddy’s storage house since we moved into this house on 11th Avenue, Springfield, Tennessee, in 1953. Alice and I kept 2 of these old, beautiful ornaments, and gave one each to my brothers and sister and to our three children.
Each Christmas when we decorate our trees, we think of Granny and her love for this most special Christian season of celebration. She passed that love on to our Daddy and he passed it on to us.
This Christmas, as always, I’m so grateful. Granny Coleman knew Christmas was forever.
She packed the ornaments away more than fifty years ago, and they still remind us of her and the meaning of our faith.
So, Thank you, Granny; thank you, Daddy for the meaning of Christmas that you imparted to us, and a meaning that makes us say Thank you, God, for loving us enough to send your Son – we celebrate HIS birth with joy!
About the Author
G. Byrns Coleman is Professor of Religion and Chair of Department of Religion & Philosophy, Wingate University, Wingate, NC . He is also a member of Wingate Baptist Church .
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