The song playing on my Playlist, "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem," takes me back to Beaverdam Freewill Baptist, my paternal grandparent's church. In my mind, I can hear the quartet singing in a long drawn-out country accent ....."shine on, shine on!"
My mom was one of seven children and my dad was one of eight. Both grandparent's homes would be overflowing with family gathering at Christmas, but they never seemed crowded, rather warm and cozy.
On Christmas Eve night, we celebrated at Grandma B.'s house. During the hour ride home, I would lie crossways in the back window of dad's big Ford car, searching the sky for Santa. (This of course, was before seat belts! ) An hour seemed like an eternity as a child, especially one filled with anticipation of gifts to come. My dad would give updates from the front seat as he drove ahead, and I would try to take shallow breaths, so that I didn't fog up the rear window. I didn't want to miss Santa and his reindeer, should they happen upon our path.
Before going to bed, we were allowed to pick one present from under the tree to open. I had the uncanny knack of never choosing a cool, fun toy. Rather my choice was always unwrapped to reveal PJ's or some other piece of clothing. I have to laugh about it now, but at the time it was far from funny.
Gifts from my grandparent's was predictable, as well. My Grandma B. gave us each a small box, about the size of a shoebox, filled with little items that she shopped for and saved throughout the year. She put a lot of thought in each item. From Grandma M., we each got two pairs of underwear, but they were good brands. :) When I was young I didn't appreciate them as well as I probably should have. But as I got older and started buying my own, my gratitude increased.
For a moment, I find myself sad, that I can't be young again, and go back to those predictable, yet wonderful and magical Christmases past. I want to be six, and climb in the back of that car window one more time, and worry about nothing but Santa. And those that I loved, my dear grandparents, are gone now. Their homes are no longer the same, though still standing. But then, I think of my own children, and how I want them to have wonderful family traditions, that I hope they reflect fondly on. I think of all the happy memories we have already had as a family and look forward to future ones. I am then glad that time moves on.
Our preacher shared a verse referring to TRADITIONS, Sunday...
"Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." Joel 1:3