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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

 

December 25, 2013 - Making Memories at Christmastime

By Ken Horn

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. ... And be thankful" (Colossians 3:15, NIV).

Christmas will never be the same.

With the passing of my two sisters in the space of a year, a strange sense has dawned upon me. There are some memories — many memories — that I no longer share with anyone else. Everyone else who shares them is in heaven.

I was blessed to be born into a very close family circle. My earliest memories were extremely happy. Throughout my childhood, I continued to have that sense of rich relationship. I was too young to fully appreciate all that had been given to me in the forms of the people I lived with.

Our family had a "plus one" in its number. My maternal grandmother lived with us throughout my entire childhood. I grew up thinking it was normal to have a grandmother living with you. She was an intimate part of almost everything we did.

The victim of an unwanted divorce in a day when divorce was a stigma, my grandmother was bitter most of her days — until she established a firm relationship with Jesus Christ, who helped her lay aside that burden.

She was a loving and treasured part of our family's shared memories. I had no idea at the time of the value of the tales my grandmother passed down — her family's oral history. Her parents were born and married in Northern Ireland, and the Mylon family kept its Irish heritage alive. Mary was my grandmother's name but she was called Mamie by her parents. And Mamie loved to sing ... often songs about the homeland. "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" was a favorite.

Her oral history extended beyond the Emerald Isle. When my great-grandparents came to the U.S., they settled in San Francisco. They lived there in 1906.

That was the year of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. I couldn't begin to remember how many times I heard my grandmother tell the story of her family's escape from the rapidly spreading fire in the earthquake-ravaged city. For two days the family was separated from Mamie's brother, not knowing if he was alive or dead, until they eventually located him in a refugee camp on the Oakland side of the bay.

My sisters both married and began to grow families of their own when I was very young. But though the family circle grew and geography ultimately separated us, we all remained close relationally.

My dad and mother made every holiday a time of memory building. Love flowed from the home they came to call "the little house" where six people were crammed into less than 800 square feet. But we all had somewhere to sleep, including bunk beds to conserve space, and the couch.

When I was five we moved to a spacious three-bedroom home. We were officially "uptown." And we never noticed that we still only had one bathroom for six people.

But I must interrupt my nostalgic digression. To make my point I have, perhaps, over-informed my readers.

It is memories like these that, as "the last leaf on the tree," I realize I now carry alone.

With Ellene's passing in July, I confess to a sense of loss. Many of you reading this have already experienced it. But I also have something wondrous to remember. The five loved ones I lived with as a child have all graduated to heaven. This is one family circle that won't be broken. I have a glorious reunion to eagerly look forward to.

No matter what your age or current situation, as Dec. 25 arrives this year, Christmas will never be the same. There are some things about every life that change over every 12-month span.

Not all changes are keenly felt, but most losses are.

Many of you reading this will have an empty place (or multiple empty places) in your Christmas celebration this year.

Those who miss loved ones should begin the coping process by dwelling on this thought: We only feel a great sense of loss because we were so greatly blessed.

Christmas is a great time to keep memories of loved ones alive, to strengthen your family's own oral history. (I guess you can tell that's what I've been doing.) Pass down those memories to children and other relatives.

Treasure the past and let it inform your current life.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. ... And be thankful" (Colossians 3:15, NIV).

Christmas is a time for peace. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:14, NKJV). We honor the coming of the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

In this atmosphere of peace and good will, let us also remember what He has given … and be grateful. "I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old" (Psalm 77:11).

Pass your treasured memories along this Christmas, honor the God who has blessed you, and build memories that others will treasure in years to come.

Merry Christmas all!

— Ken Horn is editor of the Pentecostal Evangel and blogs at Snapshots (khorn.agblogger.org).

 

 

 

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