Fond memories of past Christmas times

As a child I was always fascinated by Christmas decorations, especially the lights and the bright colours. The rest of the year seemed so drab in comparison.

As a child I was always fascinated by Christmas decorations, especially the lights and the bright colours. The rest of the year seemed so drab in comparison.

There was many a so called summer morning when I awoke and secretly wished when I burst through the living room door the Christmas tree would be glowing brightly in the corner. The decorating of the Christmas tree signalled the beginning of Christmas. You knew the great day wasn’t far away as the fighting began over whose school made decoration got pride of place on the tree. At one stage we had three toilet roll Santas vying for top spot. Apparently due to health and safety it’s no longer hygienic to use toilet rolls. If these rules had of been in place during the 1970s and 80s ‘Blue Peter’ would have been finished as a children’s show. I’m sure most creations would have been a fire risk and as for coat hangers they would have been banned in case you put out your eye.

These few weeks have always been a season for nostalgia when reminiscing about the past becomes a fact of life. In the staff room of the local primary school as we gathered round a Quality Street container we discussed the old decorations. You can’t even say Quality Street tin anymore because it’s now made of plastic. Everyone had their favourite sweets, at home there was always a fight over the strawberry and orange creams. If you loved the coffee chocolate, apart from being weird, you would have been in heaven in our house as these lasted well into the New Year. Of course these are no longer available but I’m not too upset. Around the table in the staff room we remembered multi-colour paper chains which hung from ceilings along with the fold out decorations which included bells and stars. Many homes had their windows transformed by images from snow spray stencils which looked spectacular at night. Yet you had to be careful not to stare at the window too long in case the family thought you were from TV licensing.

The second period of Advent taps into our desire to celebrate and remember the past. Just as the first part of Advent concentrates on Christ’s coming again, the second half of Advent focuses on the great event of Jesus birth. We’re reminded how through Jesus Christ, God has fulfilled all the ancient expectations and promises made to the people of Israel. For Christ to be born required a person with a suitably open, brave and generous heart to answer God’s call; so allowing for that moment and space in history for salvation to unfold. In Mary we discover the lowly and humble handmaid who is blessed because she believed what was spoken to her by the Lord would come true. For Christ to be born again, not only this Christmas but each and every day requires from us a response like Mary’s. As we listen to the prophecies of the Old Testament and celebrate their fulfilment in the birth of Christ, we pray for the same courage and generosity to answer God’s call. May Christ be born through our words and actions.