Each year my heart is under the Christmas tree, hidden by the gifts where no one can see ... and when it’s night and the tree lights stay on, my heart gazes into a pink shimmering ball, reflecting treasured memories never gone.
I see the silverware polished on the table, and the family all around. Yes, we’re at Grandpa and Grandma B.’s where good manners and politeness are found ... and though I, a little girl, awaited the opening of gifts in my head, nothing was opened until the dinner was eaten, dishes were done and the Christmas story was read.
“And it came to pass ... ,” I’d hear my Dad say, reading from God’s word the wonderful Christmas story that is still meaningful today.
I see everyone sitting at the table with a name card at their places, Mom sitting by the kids, and the family with hungry faces.
But even then we could not eat until we sang “Silent Night,” with words that were sweet. “Holy Night” the song would sing, and everyone sang in harmony for Jesus the Christ Child, our King.
But my best memory, most of all, was when Grandpa sang bass that sounded through the halls and when the song ended the good smells of the meal filled the room’s air, and everyone visited with each other, leaving aside worries and care.
The Norwegian traditions of years past came with the essence of time, as next the fruit soup was served, and each spoonful tasted so fine!
Then the smoked ham from the butcher shop was cut, and the “old masher” whipped potatoes were served, the gravy was poured from a silver gravy boat all for another Christmas meal well deserved.
Many thank you’s went to Grandma when the meal was done and dishes went to the kitchen right away, being very careful with every dish on that special day.
My grandma would stand there gleaming with detailed order and pride as she reset the table, before opening gifts, with a fruit bowl of grapes and tangerines and the cookie plate she had set aside.
Our Norwegian heritage was seen by the cookies she baked: Krumkake, Fattimund, Sandbakler, and potato lefse lined on the silver plate.
But oh, the fun — that tray would turn, and as I turned it I noticed not one cookie was burned.
Finally off to the living room we’d go one by one, filled with excitement and lots of fun! Each family member sat as someone handed out the gifts, always making sure that no one was missed.
We unwrapped them quickly, Gram and Gramps gave us socks, and if I remember right Mom and Dad got a kitchen clock, but our most fun gift was from our uncle, and it filled us with joy, when we got a doll, stuffed animal or even a toy.
Only one gift, and we held it so dear, to think my stuffed toy monkey still remains now in a bedroom upstairs.
I can see my young face as I stare into my pink Christmas ball and rest ... I was smiling a big smile as I knew each Christmas was the best!
I can still hear the rustle of wrappings when we got our gifts that night. Our family knew that Christmas was Jesus, giving and love for each other that shone bright.
Now do you know why under the Christmas tree my heart is there?
It’s not just the gifts ... instead it’s the love we shared.
And though my Gram and Gramps are gone and uncles moved away, everyone’s family has grown which makes me happy today.
Memories stay with you, as they come from above, especially when each year they’re made with kindness and filled with true Christmas love!