Since this Blog Link is emailed to many people beyond those who gather for the Second Service at WCAG, I thought, why not share our “Memories” with the rest of you. No big deal, just our “Childhood Memories of Christmas.”
Donna & I are both of German decent, and grew up on farms in SD, so our childhood memories of Christmas, not surprisingly, have similarities.
My earliest childhood memories of Christmas come out of the great depression of the 1930’s. I have no recollection of ever getting a Christmas toy. We never had a Christmas tree or decorations at our house. But every Christmas my Dad would bring home a block of halvah candy for the family, a tradition his parents brought from Russia. Since my Dad read aloud from his German Bible every morning, he must have read the Christmas story to us at Christmas.
My childhood Christmas memories mainly come from the Annual Christmas Eve programs at our little one room country church, which was five miles from our farm. If snow was too deep for our Model T, we would go by bobsled. Our little church was heated by a potbellied stove in the middle of the room. Gas lanterns, hanging along the walls, were our source of light.
There always was a large live Christmas tree on the platform. It had a few decorations, and burning wax candles. Under the tree were brown paper bags with nuts, candy, an apple and maybe an orange. The part I remember most about the Christmas program was how all of us Sunday School children would come to the front one by one to recite our Christmas piece, hopefully without any need for prompting. The entire program was in German, and would end with everyone joining in singing Christmas carols, which always concluded with "Schtilhe Nacht, Heilige Nacht". At this point all the children’s heads turned toward the door at the back of the church and in came Santa Claus. He passed out the treats that were under the tree – I think most all of us kids knew he was just one of the men from the church.
Christmas Eve at our church was always something we looked forward to. We had the usual program of recitations, songs, and the drama of the birth of Jesus with all the shepherds and wise men in their bathrobes. After the program, the Sunday School teachers gave small gifts to the children in their classes, and the ushers distributed bags of candy, nuts and fruit to each of the children.
When we got home from church my sister and I went right to bed. After we were out of the way, Mom and Dad set up the live Christmas tree, decorated it and put the gifts around it.
We were always too excited to fall asleep. So we very quietly tiptoed into our parents’ bedroom which had a heat register in the floor directly above the living room, where they were working. We were hoping to hear some clue as to what gift we might get for Christmas, but we never did.
Christmas morning we would dash downstairs to the living room to see the Christmas tree all decorated and with real burning wax candles. It was beautiful, but also rather dangerous. One Christmas an ornament caught fire, dropped down to the floor and went rolling around the tree. I was really scared, but Dad was right there and immediately took care of it.
We never had candy bars at our house, but one Christmas, there was a chocolate candy bar under the tree. By this time there were six of us kids, and we all wondered who it was for. But Mom solved the problem by cutting it into six pieces. I still remember taking very small bites to make it last as long as possible.
Our parents taught us from little on about Jesus, and Christmas was always a very happy time for our family.
These are some of our childhood memories of Christmas - Seemingly not all that “spiritual” but in that environment, Donna & I and all our 13 brothers and sisters came to know the Christ of Christmas in a personal way.
We are so thankful for the wonderful heritage that has been ours and is being passed on from generation to generation.
We trust you had a very blessed Christmas with many cherished memories to hold on to.