Welcome to Stella Bagwell's guest post of her memories of Christmases past, some Merry and Bright and some challenging. She's also giving away (US ONLY) a copy of her Holiday Story, Christmas on the Silver Horn Ranch. Enjoy her heartfelt tale and enter to win her book!
Growing up in rural Oklahoma, Christmases with my family were modest and simple, but always special. The holiday began with a search through the nearby woods for the perfect cedar to cut for trimming. Along with lights and ornaments saved from one year to the next, Mother would make popcorn and let my big brother and I string it, along with red cranberries for added decorations. The thought of Santa flying through the air with a team of reindeer and a sleigh full of toys was magical and we counted the days until his visit. It didn’t matter that the gifts for my brothers and I were few, Christmas was the most exciting time of the year.
During my childhood, school was also a huge part of our holiday celebration. Each home room was decorated with a tree and every class held a party. Sacks of goodies, which usually consisted of fruit, candy, and popcorn balls were passed out to all students and games were played to decide who would receive the special gifts under the tree. For weeks ahead of time, pupils from grade one to twelve would practice for hours singing Christmas hymns and memorizing lines for a play depicting the birth of Christ.
Those Christmas memories are etched into my heart and later, as an adult with a family of my own, I wanted to make sure Christmas was just as special for my husband and our son. And down through the years, we’ve had some memorable holidays, some of which were funny, like the year my Siamese cat jumped in the middle of the tree and toppled it over, decorations and all. And a few were difficult, like the year after we’d moved to South Texas, I spent Christmas going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. In spite of being terribly weak, I was determined to go shopping. My husband helped me walk through the mall, where seeing the decorations and shoppers, and hearing the music lifted my spirits and reminded me that Christ’s birthday is a time for healing and rejoicing.
A few years later, with that trying Christmas behind us, I was completely healthy again and back to doing all the things I loved about Christmas. Shopping, cooking, wrapping gifts and even standing in long check-out lines put a smile on my face.
Living on the coastal bend, the weather rarely reaches the freezing mark and on most Christmas Eves, the sound of lawn mowers can be heard as folks do last minute spruce ups before the big day. Such was December 24th in 2004. The day had been mild and that night we went to bed with thoughts of gifts and the turkey dinner I’d be cooking for my husband and son. Little did we know that we’d be waking up the next morning to the miracle of a white Christmas!
We looked out the window to see, not just a dusting of snow, but ten deep inches covering the ground! The palm trees were bent from the weight and my cats were racing around the yard, rolling in the white stuff as though Santa had given them a fluffy down comforter to lie on.
That afternoon, after we’d stuffed on dinner, we jumped in the truck to drive around the area and enjoy the sights of the winter wonder. Everyone in town seemed to be outside, building snowmen, tossing snowballs, and simply looking around in amazement. Given the fact that our area of Texas hadn’t registered snowfall since 1895, many of the folks had never seen snow before, much less on Christmas Day. It was truly historic.
The weather experts could probably give you a scientific reason why Seadrift, Texas got a ten inch snow that year. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m perfectly content to explain it as the wondrous magic of Christmas.
Merry Christmas everyone and may God bless you all!
Stella is giving away one copy of Christmas on the Silver Horn Ranch
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