One constant remains during holidays
Published 6:39 pm Friday, December 8, 2017
Christmas traditions are something many of us cherish, but what happens when things change?
When I was a little girl, our family would make the trek to Cleveland, Mississippi, each Christmas.
Both sets of my grandparents lived there as did many of my aunts, uncles and cousins on my father’s side of the family.
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On Christmas Eve, at my paternal grandparents’ house, we would gather for dinner, and before opening presents, all of us cousins would congregate and prepare for a Christmas production that we would perform for the adults.
One of my uncles, who was only four years my senior, served as our leader and director, and the show would include piano playing, singing and flute playing. I played the flute.
At my maternal grandparents’ home, Christmas was celebrated beginning Christmas morning when my grandfather would wake my brothers and me up to tell us Santa had come.
My Papa was always like a kid himself during the holidays, and his excitement and joy was contagious. Because of him, Christmas was magical for me.
However, one year things changed. He and my grandmother traveled to Hawaii for the holidays to visit their other daughter and her family.
I was left with no Papa at Christmas, and things were just not going to be the same.
Who was going to wake me up in the morning to let me know Santa had come, and how would I get through the day without seeing him in his red beret as he handed out Christmas gifts?
Although we were staying at Papa and Mary Helen’s home (I call my grandmother by her given name) on Christmas Eve, I remember crying that night because the house just felt empty.
That year was the first time I remember my Christmas tradition being altered, and it felt sad and scary. Change has never been my strong suit; new and different are hard for me.
Retrospectively, I wish I would have acted differently that night and not been so emotional and selfish.
My poor parents, I wonder what was going through their minds as they wiped away my tears.
Maybe they experienced sadness because they had an ungrateful little girl who could not see any of the good that was still around her, like all they had done for Christmas.
For years, they had packed up all three of us kids in addition to gifts for family members and our Santa presents and traveled nearly 160 miles north for Christmas. Looking back, I cannot image how hard it must have been for them to accomplish such a feat.
Remember, there were no mini vans or SUV’s back in the 60s and early 70s, so how they got all our stuff in the trunk of the car was truly magic!
Invariably, time brings along change, and although it is still a challenge for me, some of what I have learned through the years is that no matter how different things may be during the holiday season, the spirit of Christmas seems to always win out because of the one thing that remains constant, God’s gift of a new born baby, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at email@example.com.