By Doris Schroeder
The best time of the whole year is almost upon us when we celebrate the reason for celebrating Christmas. I have noticed that as one gets older, the golden memories of Christmases gone by become more precious and certainly are cherished as I remember the days we lived on the farm many years ago…I invite you to move back in time with me to the 1940s.
I step outside the screened in porch of the old two-story farmhouse and look at the sky. The clouds have settled down and now are huge billowy comforters tossed at random in the charcoal sky. Spongy snowflakes fall softly on my nose and in my hair as I survey the scene before me. The whole countryside can be seen from my vantage point on the hill.
The barnyard sounds can be heard from across the yard…a mother cow moaning softly to her little calf, telling her to settle down. The chicken house mostly silent as the fowls settle down in their little perches for the night. Occasionally a light scuffle belying the fact of sleep.
Our two dogs come running to me, eager to participate in whatever I have planned, whether a walk or a chore. Shep and Spot, really not very helpful in getting in the cows for milking, but certainly eager confidantes, always there to lend an ear or give me an empathizing look when it is needed.
I glance at the glow inside the house, the cozy coal stove burns brightly as it crackles away, casting dancing shadows on the wallpaper in the parlor where we usually spend our evenings. The oilcloth covered dining room table in the family kitchen sparkles with the light from the kerosene lamp set in the middle of her broad expanse. When we read the few books that come our way, we have to sit close to her frugal glow. But now, the lamp is simply shining.
One by one the clouds begin to disappear and the sky turns a beautiful navy blue. A few stars peek out, playing hide and seek with the man in the moon. The countryside glistens in her diamond glitter.
The curtain has risen on the world to celebrate Christmas Eve and the fact that this is the night we commemorate our Savior’s birth. A hush falls over the landscape and one senses he is in the presence of a being that the mere mortal mind cannot even begin to comprehend. We are in the presence of our King!
The frugal glow of the kerosene lamp gives all it has to bring light into the room. My Dad takes out the Bible and reads the Christmas story from Luke, chapter 2. The dim light helps me to see the pictures of Jesus’ birth in my mind’s eye. The stable, the shepherds and the baby Jesus. We sing a Christmas carol, “Silent Night.” and we can feel the hush over the stable in Bethlehem. Our Christmas is complete.
Oh, there are other things that go on the next day, Grandparents to visit, etc. but the real essence of Christmas is right here in the old fashioned reading of the Christmas event, in the prayer of wonderment. In the sky itself. We have felt the presence of Christ in our lives. It was an old fashioned way, but it was the real way.
Yet the world, with all its glittering lights and dismissals of the Scripture, cannot find the real meaning of Christmas…nor does it want to. It does away with nativity scenes, the Christ in Christmas, even the word God in all the political and educational institutions.
It was here on the farm, a place we lived at about five years total, among all the different moves our family made, that I found the Lord Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior. It was a place where God spoke to me, through the 500 Bible verses I learned at School, through my parents and also the Christian School teacher I had at the country school, that I finally had found peace after my sister Luella’s death. The Lord led me to the right Scriptures when I was alone and seeking and I finally understood how I could accept him into my heart.
That truth makes the Christmas season the most wonderful time of the year!
Doris welcomes your comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org