I have always loved Christmas.
Christmas of my youth was full of people, noise and food.
Christmas when my children were growing up were ones of the never-ending work of
preparation for the One Big Day.
Photo: Margaret Kernested
Now, the Christmases of my retirement are ones of peace and solitude. Oh, there are still the family gatherings, and the joy of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my son’s home with his family, but before that ...
I live in cottage country. All my close neighbours are cottagers. Occasionally they will come out in the winter, but, more often than not, there are no other lights to be seen.
The lake is frozen and snow covered and out my windows there is an expanse of nothing for as far as the eye can see. I have a real Christmas tree, with old fashioned bubble lights, and a real fire. On a perfect day there is hoarfrost on all the trees, or those big Christmas Eve kinds of snowflakes floating to the ground. The evenings are quiet and still, lit only by the glow of the embers from a once crackling fire, and from the sparkling lights of the tree.
I have always loved Christmas. But, in this peace and solitude, with all the outside world subdued, I sometimes think, this is really how Christmas was meant to be.
A Christmas story
L-H Board of Directors
As I struggled to wake up from within the cocoon of a teppi, I realized that I was feeling cold and shivery. I mumbled to my mother that I was cold. I could hear my father tell her to give me a sip from the thermos. This she did and this sip of the warm potion just felt wonderfully soothing and warm as it went down and then came the explosion of heat that spread from my stomach to the tips of my toes, to the ends of my fingers and all through my person. To this day, I always feel the same way, loved and warm and deliciously comforted, by hot buttered rum.
As I became more fully awake, I was transfixed. I saw the most amazing light in front of us. It was as bright as day yet it was the middle of the night. My father was driving through a tunnel of white, sparkling and twinkling white, piled high on either side of us as we drove through the night.
At last the exceedingly bright white light seemed to hover directly above us as we stopped beside a small dwelling. I stumbled along behind my parents to enter into a dimly lit but warm and inviting room that felt almost steamy warm after the crispness of the cold night air.
An older man with a grizzled beard greeted us at the door, shooed some animals out of our way and welcomed us warmly as he took our coats and jackets. He ushered us to the table and as we sat down I saw the gentlest face smiling at me from across the table. And behind her, beside the window, a cradle that she was rocking to and fro. An infant in that cradle cooed and gurgled happily. At that moment, a ray of light streamed through the window unto the angelic face of a little baby boy.
To this day, I cannot remember the rest of that trip from Bissett to Riverton to spend Christmas with family. My Christmas was right there below the beaming light, in that small dwelling with a father, a mother and an infant child. I still believe that I was actually in Bethlehem and what could be more special at Christmas than that.