A Christmas Memory
My mind goes back across the years to our first Christmas in
our little poplar log cabin in Northwood, Saskatchewan. I was
only a little lad, but no amount of years could ever blot it from
my memory. Some weeks before Christmas, Mother became ill
and had to be taken to the hospital. Dad was away from home
working with a railroad crew. A blizzard prevented him from
reaching home with provisions for Christmas. Things looked
pretty poor and bleak for us, isolated in our wilderness cabin.
But the spirit of Christmas was not to be denied.
We cut a little aspen tree (there were no evergreens in that
part of Saskatchewan) and set it up on the floor. Rummaging in
the trunks, we found some Christmas decorations from our
homeland far across the seas. Our Christmas dinner? Well, we
didn't have many ingredients to work with. The only food left
was flour, salt and corn syrup. We cooked a porridge, "vatten grot",
using water, salt and flour. We even mixed water with the
syrup to make it go further. It was a good dinner! The comfort
of having each other, despite cold and hunger, made it so.
After we had eaten, brother Hans, being the oldest, lined us up
around the Christmas tree according to age, down to the littlest
fellow. Then we marched around the Christmas tree singing the
Christmas songs so dear to us from the homeland.
How meaningful and real Christmas was to us!
How sweet and clear
the angelic message of God's good will toward His
children! And it is ever so. While there is nothing wrong with
making our homes as festive looking as possible, it still remains true
that the real joy and peace of Christmas is not dependent
on a wealth of material things.
"Where meek souls will receive Him still,
the dear Christ enters in."
Rev. Nels Norbeck of Montana,
wrote about his most memorable Christmas.