Ghost of Christmas past

It’s the day after Christmas. I’m sixteen and still in bed at nine in the morning. My brother’s in the military and not home this year. Yesterday, we had our Christmas, just the three of us: Daddy, Mom, and me. I tore through the carefully wrapped packages Mom lovingly decorated, ate more than my share of Daddy’s  fudge he and Mom made from the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s can, and laughed over old movies and rooted for my favorite team all afternoon and evening with my folks.

This morning, my parents are at the kitchen table, dinging their spoons against their coffee mugs. My alarm clock. They figure I’ve been asleep long enough. They don’t know I’ve been waiting for the sound, waiting for the invitation to join them (as if I needed it) that they’ve issued every Saturday this year, then again on Christmas Day, and again now!  After “Good morning, sleepy head” and a cup of coffee, what has become our Saturday tradition since my brother left now becomes our Christmas season tradition.

Mama sings the opening notes to “Silver Bells,” and we do our own version of  “Daddy Sang Bass.” Which he does. I add the alto, and the three of us sing through every Christmas song, Christian and secular, we know for the rest of the morning. Both my parents sang professionally, Mom on the radio and in the U.S.O., and Daddy with a band that toured Georgia and nonprofessionally in the military. I’m a chip off the ol’ block—a ham off the ol’ hog.

Once we’ve exhausted the Christmas carols, we hit every other song we know, until Daddy decides it’s time for pancakes, which he makes. Mama fries the bacon, I pour the milk, and here it is: our tradition extended from Saturdays to Christmas, with the wonderful addition of fudge and pancakes.

We no longer have a family tradition. Not since Billy and I married, not since Daddy died. Mom’s not able to be too involved in Christmas singing. I miss it. But, I have a recording.

Back in the day RCA and Sony made those sorry little things they called cassette recorders, Mom set one on the table and hit the record button. I have Daddy, Mama, and me singing everything we knew, dinging our coffee cups, and yes, clearing our throats, on tape. I can even hear the bacon sizzle while we make breakfast during our music.

I miss our tradition.

But the meaning of Christmas isn’t in our traditions, not entirely. It stems from the very first Christmas when a Child was born in a manger. It lies in the fact that God loved me and my family and friends—and everyone else who believes—so much He gave His only begotten Son that we should not perish but have everlasting life. That’s the true meaning and the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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8 Responses to Ghost of Christmas past

  1. A beautiful Christmas past memory. I am remembering a few of my own too as this is the first Christmas without my daddy. Yes, I called him, Daddy, too. My mother is still with us, but much diminished with partial dementia. My kids are flung all across the Pacific Northwest. My childhood and my own traditions are gone, but not forgotten. However, I am forging new ones with my husband and Cooper. I can’t let go of them entirely.

    You are spot on about the reason we celebrate. It isn’t what traditions we hold or forego. It is the celebration of the birth of our savior. I still feel elation, peace, awe, and love whenever I think of the sacrifice God made for us, for me.

    Merry Christmas, Linda!

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  2. Merry Christmas to you too! I hope it’s full of fun and happiness! ❤

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  3. It’s hard to let go of traditions, but sometimes is for the best. Thank you, Linda, for sharing your own encouraging example of moving on. ~ Merry Christmas!

    Oh, how great the Father’s love for us that He gave His only Son that we might live through Him! Anything else is extra.

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  4. Lori Ellis says:

    Thank you, Linda. This was the most different and sort of sad Christmas I have ever had. Yes, I too know what is more important than those happy Christmas’ long gone in my life. Thank you, Jesus for coming here to earth, living in a human body and dying, experiencing pain only because you agreed to feel not just human pain but the pain of all our sins. I love you and thank you for loving me enough to die for me. Tell Dad hello for me. My first Christmas without him was hard. I know he is living it up in Heaven and I smile just thinking of it. Jesus, now my Mom is very ill and barely resembles my Mom as I have known her all my life. I pray for Mom everyday and tonight asked everyone I could think of to pray for her to have peace as we bring her to a new state of the art facility, the only one of it’s kind in our country, on January 11th. My family just want her to have the best days possible until she comes home to you, sweet Jesus. Thank you for hearing our prayers. In Jesus name. Amen.

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  5. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Linda.
    Thank you for your reminder of our reason for the season – Jesus’ birth!
    Wishing you many blessings in 2020!

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