Tom Gilbert – © December, 2007
Past, Present and Future
(written December 23, 2007 - update on December 19, 2020)
note - December, 2020 - This has been quite a year for everyone. With
the global pandemic of the Covid-19 virus we find ourselves celebrating
Christmas and the holidays in a different way. The big family
gatherings, parties, hugs and laughter are all subdued by the necessity
or keeping safe from a very real and dangerous virus. But vaccines are
arriving and maybe that is the present we need. That and the love we
have for each other. Keep the joy of the Christmas season alive! *
We all have
memories. As a youngster one of my first recollections of tinsel,
lights and presents was in Florida. I'm an Air
Force “brat” and Dad was stationed at Homestead AFB
near Miami. I vaguely remember a combination of sun, warm
weather and a Christmas tree. I’ve got a picture of
me next to my younger
brother, Doug from a Christmas past. We’re both decked out in
cowboy garb. Kind of ironic as I don’t remember
big country and western fan and as an adult I’ve spent many
years working in rock radio formats. But it has all come full circle. I
employed at a country music station in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
time is special
for children and for grownups, too, when we’re able to let go
of our adult obsessions and experience the magic of the
season. The innocence of childhood allows us to see
things through eyes of wonderment. Constant surprise is our
was very young I
could never understand why my parents didn’t want to get up
on Christmas morning as early as I and my siblings did.
Sometimes my brother, sister and I would all be in one bedroom and
be wide awake in eager anticipation of what Santa had
brought. My mom and dad thought 5 AM
was way too early to begin opening presents and
despite our protestations they would tell us to try and sleep some
more, or at least give the consideration of a little more time before
guess it didn’t occur to me they might have been up most of
assembling train sets, bicycles and doll houses. Usually
our whining would result in Mother bringing in our Christmas stockings
and that would preoccupy us for a little while as we discovered the
puzzles and small toys in those homemade stockings.
Often there would also be a bright penny, a pencil, an orange and a
toothbrush snuggled inside. Mom was never one to miss an
opportunity to pass on tips of nutrition, oral
hygiene and an appreciation of small joys.
years as we grew up
and our family spread around the country there were times when
we’d be apart over the Holidays. And there were times when
we’d be able to
get together. I understand now what my parents meant when they told us
all they really
wanted for Christmas was for us all to be together.
has an incredible
number of birthdays in December and all close to Christmas. I was
supposed to be born on Christmas Day, but I think my parents were both
when my birth happened on the 15th.
Along with my birthday there is my older sister, born on Christmas Eve,
my dad on Christmas Day and my mom the day after.
With all those birthdays right at the same time we typically would
celebrate Mom and Dad’s birthdays
with a dinner, cake and presents on Christmas evening.
My son is
also part of the
parade of birthdays at Christmas time. He was born on a snowy
December 21st in Grand Rapids, Michigan fourteen years
ago. One of my favorite pictures
that year was my five
year old daughter holding her newborn baby brother on her lap in front
of the Christmas
tree. She said it was the best present that year.
memories can run the gamut of emotions. Some are joyful
celebrations, others lonely
affairs. Some are more hectic with traveling and large
some are just plain silly. But regardless of the circumstances
or surroundings the gift of the Christmas Spirit can
always be found. If we treasure those memories and record them
to share with others on the Christmases yet to come we will discover
that the Christmas past, present and future all exist
together. I find it remarkable that the very first
Christmas was a mother, father and a baby that brought
tidings of great joy down through the centuries.
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