Saturday, December 25, 2010

Memories: Footprints in the Snow

This time of year tends to cause a person to reminisce. Past experiences become a part of the ever-changing landscape of our lives. While Jesus is central to Christmas, it is also a time of togetherness, a celebration of family and love, tradition, and a time to make memories. Tonight I am reminiscing of Christmases past.

When I was a little girl Christmas Eve was always spent at my dad’s parent’s house. The whole family would bring finger foods and the table would almost overflow with the bounty of vegetable trays, fruit trays, cheese and crackers, meatballs, baby cheesecakes, fruit salad, chips and dips, and so much more. Friends and family and neighbors clustered into small groups to mingle or in a haphazard circle to laugh and joke and tease and tell stories. Sometimes Santa Clause would even make a special guest appearance before beginning his worldwide trek to deliver gifts to all the good little boys and girls. Before the night ended we would gather around the tree and exchange gifts.

Christmas day we would go to my mom’s parent’s house. Tables would overflow with food – basically a repeat of Thanksgiving. We would gather in the living room to open our gifts and share in the excitement of each gift given and received, but mostly to watch Nana open her gifts. Nana was the best part of every Christmas family gathering with her child-like excitement over the gifts and the people, though I did not realize this until the last couple of years when watching home videos. Nana was the best part of almost everything family-related, although I was Papa’s girl through-and-through. I was very young and many of the memories of Christmases spent at Nana and Papa’s come in the form of stories that I’ve been told or small snapshots of my own memories.

Holidays were always full of family, but as the years went on people passed away and moved away and things changed. Old traditions fell by the wayside and new ones are formed. Rather than having a large family Christmas, it became time spent with immediate family, partly by choice and partly by circumstances. Memories are constantly being made and reflected upon.

I find that memories are like footprints in the snow. They are evidence of an event that happened, but they are not permanent. In time, more memories come and begin to distort other memories and sometimes completely erase them much like footprints in the falling snow. Sometimes when the snow stops falling, the footprints linger a bit longer, but spring comes and those footprints begin to disappear. This Christmas I challenge you to spend time with those you love remembering past times and making new memories, because like footprints in the snow those memories will change and may, in time, disappear completely.
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