As I sit here tonight looking at the lights and decorations on the Christmas tree, the Christmas village all lit up on the old German buffet, the lights just being turned off outside by the timer and eating a Christmas cookie that I just made today, I am reminded of my own family's Christmas traditions. My little brother who towers over me arrived this afternoon for Christmas and our trip to the Fiesta Bowl to see the Oklahoma Sooners win. My youngest daughter and her boyfriend will be arriving on Christmas day. My son, his wife, and my grandson will be here for Christmas dinner so am really looking forward to Christmas Day!
Grew up in a family that went to a Church when I was young that didn't have a Christmas Eve service so my Mom read the Christmas story from the Bible, then Twas the Night Before Christmas and then we would put out milk and cookies for Santa and I would go to bed ready for Santa to come. Brought that same tradition into our home when our three children were little and added that each was to pick out a book that I would read and as they became older, they read the book themselves. When I was young it was watching Scrooge on television on Christmas Eve. My children watched Sesame Street Christmas we had taped every year along with Mickey Christmas shows. We taped all all the Christmas shows which they watched over and over again even after Christmas. I watched Frosty the Snowman with my two granddaughters when I was in Fort Collins two weekends ago to celebrate Christmas with my oldest daughter and her family. Yesterday I watched Mickey Mouse Christmas with my grandson here in Norman.
When the children were small we lived in Southern California and took them to Disney, Knotts Berry Farm, and Universal for Christmas, but on Christmas Eve we still had our traditional reading of the Birth of Christ, their books, and Twas the Night Before Christmas. Can remember the look on my Mom's face the Christmas they spent with us in Yucaipa as she watched our oldest daughter read Twas the Night Before Christmas. Also remember the kids as they came down the steps and had to wait until their Dad set up our video camera. My parents and brother were shocked that we cut down our Christmas tree right next to an orange grove. Took my parents and brother to Disneyland for Christmas -- a Christmas I will never forget as Dad had arthritis really bad but that Christmas he walked without a cane. Wonderful memories that have come flooding back tonight as I watch the lights on the tree go on and off.
God has truly blessed me over the years and all the memories I have of my children growing up and now my grandchildren. Seeing Santa through their young eyes brings back what a wonderful time of year is Christmas when it truly is better to give than receive. There is nothing like seeing a child get what they asked Santa for Christmas as their eyes get big and a smile even bigger.
Was concerned that my youngest granddaughter wouldn't remember me as they moved to Colorado when she was not even 14 months old. Her Mom woke her up from her nap and brought her down when I arrived. My oldest granddaughter couldn't wait to get a hug and go out and help me bring in everything. My youngest didn't say a word as her Mom put her down but when she saw her sister and I go out to the car, she started yelling 'Grandma, Grandma' and wanted me to pick her up. Yesterday when I was at my son's, my grandson let out a happy yell when I came in the door. Those are memories that you never forget and touch your heart.
Do a lot of Christmas decorating around the house, inside and out, and have added a lot of items over the years. I started decorating a lot when the kids were small and added some each year and now there are people who drive my home to see the decorations. One of the neighbor kids told me how happy he is that he moved next door to me as he can look out his bedroom window and see all the lights every night. Last year I added two snowmen with their arms raised that looks like they are signaling 'touchdown' and sit on my flower box with the Sooner rock and birdhouse hanging from the front porch. They brought the Sooners luck in the Sun Bowl last year which my brother and I attended and will do the same this year in the Fiesta Bowl!
As I put up the manger scene on the table, I put the the bible opened underneath to Luke 2: 1-20, telling of the Christmas story, I was reminded of how much the Christmas holidays mean to so many people around the world as we celebrate the birth of Christ in our own way. As Christmas carols are sung around the world on Christmas Eve, the one that stands out to me is Silent Night. Remember having friends in Vietnam that saw the Bob Hope show. He always ended with Silent Night which brought tears to my eyes as they broadcast the show on NBC. At the end of this post, is a video from Bob Hope's last visit to Vietnam and singing of Silent Night. Bob Hope and his crew spent so Christmas' entertaining our troops who took a respite from combat to see his show. To me he will always be the #1 entertainer for what he did to bring Christmas to our troops serving around the world.
We still have our soldiers in combat this year that once again the USO will be providing Christmas entertainment for them. They will be celebrating Christmas with a Christmas dinner provided by the military. The men and women serving today are remembered in our hearts but especially at this time of year they need extra prayers as they are separated from their families and friends for Christmas.
Our men and women of the military over the years have been the ones who stand the watch even on Christmas Eve and Christmas to protect all of us and this America we call home. Here is a trip down memory lane for those who remember Bob Hope and his USO tours in Vietnam.
May God Bless each of you and yours as you celebrate this Christmas and the new year when our Country begins to right the ship.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!