Why it is important to hold – and to share – holiday memories

…and a little child will lead them

Isaiah 11:6
– this Appalachian angel has a story from 1981

One of the best things about decorating our Christmas tree – and one of the reasons it always takes so long – is retelling the stories that go with so many of the ornaments. This is one of the reasons it’s so hard to downsize; each year there seams to be less space but, at the same time, more stories.

Every Advent, teaching at church, one of my best (and easiest) classes involved asking participants to bring a favorite ornament and to share the story that went with it. Good grief! The faith, the laughter, the tears, the profound truths dangling from the end of a branch.

Stories, of course require telling or they become lost to memory and disappear into time. The Christmas season is one of the best opportunities we have to celebrate, to tell, and to retell, some of our favorites.

Dad, circa 1952: it’s a bird, it’s a plane… it’s a memory

And this year (probably because it will be the first Christmas since 1927 David Frederick Maul has not been physically present for the celebration), I’d recommend grabbing one of your favorite photographs too, something from “Christmas Past,” and taking a moment to share the stories of some of the good folk who are no longer with us.

We all have stories. Like this one Rebekah has been telling for the past 39 Christmases!

Often, back when I used to write community features for the Tampa Tribune, people I planned to interview would rebuff my approach: “There’s nothing interesting about me,” they would say, “it would be a tedious and boring article.”

My reply, always, went something like this: “Oh believe me, everyone has a story. All it needs is for someone to listen, and to ask the right questions. Let’s grab a coffee and chat. I think you will be surprised at what you learn about your own life.”

And without exception, one hundred percent of the time, I would leave the interview with something not only interesting but beautiful.

Let’s not let this Christmas pass without sharing an old story or two, a memory from the Christmas tree, and also something personal from this year that you want to find a home in the hearts of the people you love.

One of my favorite ongoing stories goes with the hideous elephant ornament Rebekah is holding (before we sent it to Tim and Kelly Black). You can read the “tacky ornament story” in my Christmas book, or this 2012 post – “Ugly Ornaments and the Reach of the Good News.”

Christmas is The Greatest Story Ever Told – and it is our story too – DEREK

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