Like so many people, this time of year makes me reflect on old friends, family and Christmas past. I think back to my childhood and all the Christmas’s with my family and all the excitement of the Advent calendar, Advent wreath, food, out of town relatives, church performances, the Montgomery Ward catalog and of course… Santa!
Back then, (late 50’s early 60’s) we didn’t do a lot of traveling and most of our shopping was done on foot, or bus, as we only had one car that dad took to work at the Swift butter plant. They also had a meat processing plant but that’s a story for another blog.
Those of you that grew up around Denver remember some of our Christmas shopping destinations. May D&F, with the skating rink and animated Christmas characters in their store windows. Arlan’s dept store, K-Mart, Denver Dry Goods, Woolworth, Wards, Fashion Bar and of course, the Piggly Wiggly or AG stores for our Christmas dinner supplies. What I enjoyed most was the Christmas music playing in all the stores! At the “down town” stores you were usually entertained by live music, as well as music on the street. How things have changed! It’s difficult to find a store that plays Carols anymore. It’s like people are celebrating and buying stuff but they really don’t know why. Or, worse yet, the store executives don’t want to offend anyone.
When mom went to be with Jesus in 2012, my sisters and I began to go through her most valued treasures. Those treasures were old stuffed animals, Christmas cards, birthday cards, (one from my first birthday!) and believe it or not, our letters to Santa! It seemed like I asked for a baby brother, a lot but that wish never came true. Tinkle toys, (which should have been tinker toys) were a favorite as were Lincoln Logs! I also wanted a Philco-Ford TV. We never had a TV in the house until I was in the 6th grade. At that point, I still wasn’t too old to watch Fred and Fay, Bozo or Romper Room. Doesn’t THAT take you back!
Our home church was Emmaus Lutheran on 32nd and Irving. We lived exactly one mile from church and usually walked there every Sunday, weather permitting. We also walked to church on Christmas Eve and always attended midnight services which started at 11. Walking home was fun because we usually got to “see” Santa fly by! When we got home, we were allowed to open one gift, then get right to bed.
After prayers, mom and dad would usually read us a story or talk about what Christmas really meant to everyone on earth. Mom always said that she felt excited but saddened at the same time. This beautiful little Christ child was born to die! His beautiful little hands and feet would someday be nailed to a cross. This didn’t make sense to me, at the time, but she read that Jesus was the Light of the World. He is the unquenchable light brought here to light up the darkness in a fallen world. Because of Him, death would be defeated. Now there’s something to be celebrated! Mom went on to say that she believed our lights and decorations not only celebrated the birth of Christ but were also there to plant a seed in the unchurched or non-believers. They are outstanding conversation starters with those that don’t understand the real, “Reason for the Season”! This year, round up the family and Read Matthew 1:18-25. It’s the best!
Kent Patton, Operations Manager