Well, here I sit in my little house in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It will hopefully be a Christmas Eve to remember. I was thinking a little while ago about another Christmas Eve very long ago. I am not sure how old I was, but I have never forgotten it to this day.
I was a little girl and I grew up in a town that had once upon a time been a communal village of Germans. Some of the older folks still had their ways about them. My grandparents were very close to the neighbors that lived kitty corner from them, the Schoenfelders. Elizabeth and George. Gosh I loved them. To my young mind they were so cool. Elizabeth, at one time had been the head librarian at the library in the large city not too far from the small town we lived in. She had also once driven a large Ford LTD between 2 semi trucks on a lonely highway as a last resort, but that is another story. Let it suffice to say that she was as cool as an older woman could be for a young girl. In fact, as time went on, it was my mom and Elizabeth who nurtured my love of writing. I owe her everything for that alone. It is always the women who are stronger role models than the men, but the men still played an important part as well. After all, it was George who told me about the candles…but that is getting a little ahead of the story.
To fully explain this, you have to understand that the Christmas Tree has it’s origins with Germans. In fact, it is often said that Martin Luther brought the first Christmas Tree into the house. This link tells you a little more about that and other aspects of German Christmas tradition. The one that is important for our purposes is the tradition of putting actual candles on the tree. If you have never seen this in person, I can tell you it is an amazing sight. The image below is taken from this link, and it is nowhere near close to showing how beautiful the real thing is.
George told the kids that were gathered round the tree that night that we should pick a candle and watch it. The child that had the candle that burned the longest would have their Christmas wishes come true. I remember all of us gathered round the tree, anxiously watching our candles. Hoping with the heart of a child for our candle to burn the longest. I don’t remember if my candle outlasted them all or not. I do remember being carried home, happy and sleepy and thinking that I heard sleigh bells over my head as Santa made his way across the star-filled sky.
This Christmas Eve, I have no candles on my tree. No one is going to carry me home tonight, but maybe I do hear sleigh bells over my head as Santa makes his way across the sky. I know that I have a family that loves me, and I know my heart is full of love for a family that I would give anything for. I would die for them, I would live for them, I would give my entire being up to see them lead happy lives. I know that I am surrounded by snow and sitting in a little house in the great white North, having traveled literally across the country to get here. I know that I am home. Tonight as I look at the tree that Sterling and I put up I know that my candle will be burning longer than any other candle. I know that my Christmas wish, to be surrounded by my family for one more Christmas, has come true. If you look close enough, maybe you can see the candles burning on our tree.
As I sit here on Christmas Eve, I can’t think of anything else that I need. I hope that each and every one of you have a very Merry Christmas. I hope each of you get your Christmas wish tonight and every night. I hope that all of you make a memory that you can look back on year after year after year. Most of all, I hope you feel the love that makes Christmas what it is. I wish you all happiness. I hope that each of you feel the warmth in your heart tonight and every night of having that kind of love. Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.
Here is one final shot to leave you with. Tomorrow begins my two week adventure in Michigan. I can’t wait!!