Longing for Christmas Past

Many of my favorite moments as a parent have been those Christmas moments with a little one in the house.  The wish list a mile long, the tradition of decorating the house and the tree, watching claymation Christmas shows, the uncontainable excitement brought on by the anticipation of a visit from Jolly Old St Nick…all memories that are tucked away safely in the recesses of my somewhat forgetful mind.  I remember the long Christmas Eve hours spent putting together castles, race tracks, and many other ‘assembly required – batteries not included’ toys that would be placed ever so carefully under the Christmas tree…to only be unwrapped in record time the next morning.  But no matter how much we wish we could freeze time and relive those days over and over…the clock continues ticking…the earth continues to make trips around the sun…and things change.   Kids grow up…the anticipation and excitement of Christmas morning seems to become a thing of the past…life happens.

My Grandpa, my Dad’s Dad, a father of seven, a carpenter and preacher, had a quick wit and a clever command of the English language.  One Christmas, when he was in his nineties, he recited one of his poems that perfectly captured that longing for Christmases past…and it went a bit like this…

The day was Christmas, all through the house
Papers, wrappings, and work for my spouse.
There were boxes and ribbons, and candy galore,
And left over pieces of things on the floor.

I got socks, and brown shoe slippers,
And a sweater that’s knit,
And just as usual none of them fit,
So they must go back to the original store;
I’m leaving my wife with that little chore.

The kids had gone outdoors with their toys.
Boy, am I glad to get rid of that noise.
If Santa would happen to visit again,
I’m really not sure I’d let him come in.

Now these were the words that I said when quite young,
And ceiling and walls with my vehements run,
But now that I’m older and laid on the shelf,
I’ll gladly add welcome St. Nick or his elf.
Could I have those days over,
With the kids and their toys?
How happy I’d be to put up with the noise!
by Howard J. Deats