The Spirit of Christmas
In this season of hustle and bustle, we are often in danger of letting the real meaning of the holiday season pass us by. We get so caught up in what to purchase each other and how to do it without blowing the budget, we often get overwhelmed. For some, the season becomes one of dread and depression rather than the celebration and joyful giving for which it was meant. Such was the case when I was a child. We were not in a position to purchase a lot of gifts and Mother was often so busy working that she didn't enjoy the season at all. I remember cutting down the Christmas tree myself as a child and carrying it to the house, putting it in a 5-gallon bucket of dirt and actually having to tie it to the wall to get it to stand up. The parents were just too busy making sure we survived on the farm to take time to make the holiday festive. But there was that one Christmas that will never leave my heart. It told me everything I needed to know about the intentions of my parents, the love that was in their heart, and the length they would go to provide for us........
If I could recreate the magic of Christmas for all to share, it would have to be from a time and place that only exists now in my memory. The time was 1964 and we were living on a farm where times were hard and money was scarce. I didn’t ask for much for Christmas as it was, without a doubt, not a realistic expectation, but I did pore over the Sears and Roebuck Christmas Catalog and dream.
Imagine my surprise when I ran into the living room that Christmas morning and found my heart’s desire. My mother had worked one of those Christmas miracles and given this little girl a treasure that would never be forgotten.
You see, I wanted a Barbie Doll like the other girls had and even though that seemed a miracle within itself should I receive one, I secretly wanted one of those fancy cases to keep her in with all her clothes. I didn’t just dream, I was dreaming big! I included all my wishes in that letter to Santa that I sent to the North Pole, that most certainly was intercepted by mother at the mailbox.
On Christmas morning, there she was, a store bought Barbie Doll all dressed in beautiful clothes with a little pill box hat, looking just like our First Lady, Jackie Kennedy. But better than that, she was in the most beautiful case I could have imagined. Not one of those plastic ones like in the catalog but one my mother had made out of scraps of wood. It was painted red with the words “Barbie and Midge” stenciled on the front. I never received the Midge doll but that never bothered me at all, as I was super happy with what I had received. The carry case was hinged together so that it could open and stand on its own, buckled together with an old suitcase fastener she had painted gold and carried by an old handle from a kitchen cabinet that she had also painted gold. The inside was complete with drawers she had made from small pieces of paneling she painted and affixed buttons to for handles. The clothes rod was simply a sturdy painted stick she had whittled. But the case was just the start of this Christmas miracle for the inside was filled with outfits fit for a queen, made with love from scraps Mother had collected. There were buttons and bows, lace, ribbons and sequins that made each outfit beyond beautiful. And there was a “mink” stole she had made from scraps our neighbor had left over from a coat.
I will never forget this treasure nor the magic of that special Christmas morning. I was only a little girl but I knew what effort had gone into that gift, the hours of labor and the amount of love that had gone into making this little girl’s dream come true. Funny how I remember very few Christmas Days from my childhood but this one I will never forget. And through 50 years of marriage and many, many moves, I still have this old red Barbie doll case with several of the outfits still intact and unless I miss my guess, it will be a part of my life and my possessions until I tell this old world goodby. I only hope someone treasures it after I am no longer here, as it would be a shame for the spirit of this Christmas gift to ever fade away. Although I went through the motion of believing in Santa, I knew my mother had made every single bit of my gift as it had her handiwork all over it. And I knew, without a doubt, that the sharing of her heart through the making of this special gift was the TRUE meaning of Christmas. You see, it doesn't reside in the gift itself, it resides in the heart that gave it!
MAY YOUR HOLIDAY SEASON BE FILLED WITH RED BARBIE DOLL CASES!
A young boy struggles to give his dying mother a new pair of shoes to meet Jesus in. Don't skip over this one!
A young pastor that has suffered a personal loss takes a job in a village that believes in Christmas miracles. Watch his struggle as he finds his own miracle!
We were passing through Buna, Texas and there it was. In front of the United Methodist Church was this amazing recycled tree just waiting for me to throw on the brakes to come say hello! I discovered they had made a tripod frame and covered it with chicken wire and then attached recycle items. Beautiful idea!
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