Saturday, December 19, 2009

Memories of Christmases Past

Ah, Christmas.

Oh, how I love Christmas. Even more so now that I'm a dad and a SID. One of the perks of working at a college is that I get a Christmas break. And my kids are out from school the exact time - which can be a blessing and a curse (at times LOL).

And at the suggestion of Dave Parsons, the SID at Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) University, I will take a break from the ramblings of SID and share some of my favorite memories of Christmases past.

Christmas 1989
I blame the fact that I'm watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation for this memory coming to mind first.

I was a senior in high school, and my family and I were to drive to my grandmother's in Florida. Well, you remember the scene in National Lampoon's Vacation when Clark Griswold asks the owner of Wally World where he takes his family on vacation, the owner said "Florida," and Clark responded by stating, "Well, they don't close Florida?" Well, I'm here to tell you that they do.

That December, there was a freak winter storm. All the way down I-75 from Kentucky down toward Florida, it snowed on us. We drove in a Ford Tarsus (my dad & mom, sister, me and our dog, Prince, a shih tzu) to the Georgia-Florida state line where we were met by state troopers turning all southbound traffic around.

So after driving nine hours to the FL-GA state line, we turned around and drive to Atlanta for the night. Spent Christmas back in Kentucky with some of my presents being in Florida. (I got a tennis racket, but it was at my grandmother's because my mom thought it would be a nice idea to have it down there so I could play right away.)

Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out why the state troopers were sending us back into the worse of the storm instead of allowing us to enter Florida. Sure, it was snowy in north Florida, but come on.

We didn't laugh too much about it then, but with each passing year, I chuckle more and more.

Christmas 1997
This was my first Christmas as a married man.

It was also my first BIG FAMILY Christmas.

I come from a family of four. And my parents' families are spread out across the country, so getting together for the holidays didn't happen a great day. Even if we all did, it still would not match what I first encountered Christmas 1997.

You see, my lovely bride comes from a big family. She is No. 10 of 12 kids. So, there are lots of people in the family.

I admit I was first taken a back when entered my in-laws' home that Christmas Eve for gift exchanges. THERE WAS PEOPLE EVERYWHERE.

No lie, the Christmas tree was hidden by the mountain of presents. And saying all the kids rip open all the gifts, wrapping paper and boxes flying everywhere. Truly a sight to behold.

And with each passing year, there are more and more people joining the fun. There's easily a constant flow of 35-50 people through my in-laws' home.

There's a lot of family togetherness, and I love every minute of it.

Christmas circa 1980
I can't remember the exact year, but I know it was around 1980. I was at about the age where I began to 'figure' the whole Santa Claus thing. However, my dad and his brother unintentionally helped reinforce my belief in the jolly ole fella.

On Christmas Eve, I was in the bed and almost asleep. My dad and his brother were being like my grown-ups on Christmas Eve, they were testing out some of my toys.

I was to get a parachute toy with a four-inch man. Not sure who was on our back porch tossing the parachute man down, but a gust of wind blew it on to our roof. So, I awaken to hearing my dad getting on our roof to get my Christmas present down.

But of course, I thought it was Santa Claus.

Christmas 1996
This Christmas is special to me because on this Christmas I went out on a first date with the most amazing woman. And ever since, I've been blessed to get to spend every Christmas with her.

Must admit I like having had our first date on Christmas. Kind of hard to forget that. LOL

Christmas 2000
This was my first Christmas as a parent.

This was also the first time that what Jesus Christ did for us really hit home.

I remember it vividly like it was yesterday. It was the Sunday before Christmas, and I was bathing Jayson who was nearly six months old at the time. And as I was washing him and trying to help get him ready for church, it hit me.

Jesus came to this world as a baby.

Jesus was once an infant, a defenseless, dependent on everyone else infant.

Jesus had to be bathed, had to have His diapers changed (if they had diapers back then).

Not only was Jesus human, He was a baby.

The Christmas of 2000 really brought home the true meaning of the season.

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