Monday, November 26, 2018

Christmas Lights by Mary Manners

 

Christmas Lights

 
By Mary Manners
 
When the subject of Christmas gifts comes up, most people think of packages wrapped in colorful paper and shimmery bows, sitting under the Christmas tree, just waiting to be opened.
 
When I think of Christmas gifts, I think of my dad, who passed away seventeen years ago this holiday season. He was a man of many gifts, including the joy he shared for the traditions of Christmas.
 
Dad loved light—especially the light that brightened a fresh-cut pine tree in honor of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Each December first, like clockwork, Dad piled his family—all seven of us—into our Chevy station wagon and drove us to the tree lot where, shivering in the Chicago-winter cold, we oohed and aahed over each and every tree until we found the perfect one.
 
Once home, with the tree safely arranged in a metal stand and watered, Dad climbed the ladder to our attic (a mysterious place, indeed) where the Christmas lights were stored. He’d lower the battered cardboard box (re-used, season after season) to the floor below and dust it off.
 
Then my brother and sisters—five of us—gathered ’round him in the living room and waited, eyes huge with wonder, as he carefully unraveled the strands of lights and tested each one. No matter how stubborn the bulbs, dad always managed to get them working.
 
Beautiful, vibrant colors turned the room to a kaleidoscope, dancing over walls and windows with the feel of winter magic. One by one, my siblings and I each took the place of honor beside Dad, helping him to adorn the tree with light. Pine sap clung to our fingers, but we didn’t care. All the while, our hearts soared with happiness and child-like wonder.
 
Finally, dad gently gathered the Christmas star from the box. Hushed with awe, we waited while Dad chose one of us to hoist to his shoulders for the greatest thrill—placing the treasured beacon of light—the Baby Jesus Star—atop the highest limb. Somehow, Dad always sensed who needed that extra touch of attention, and there was never any argument.
 
With the lights in place (just in time for nightfall—always) we circled the tree and held hands to sing Silent Night. In the earliest years, the tune didn’t always carry and the words were sometimes off, but Dad didn’t care. He knew we understood what the tree—and especially the lights—symbolized…the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. The most wonderful gift of all!
 
This year, Mom joined Dad in their eternal Happily-ever-after. Though the loss is great, memories of the many happy times we shared fuel my days…and my writing. Each Christmas brings a fuller, richer sense of wisdom that is woven into the legacy of the stories I love to share.
 
So, as we journey into another holiday season I would like to remind you to treasure every day…every precious memory made…and I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.
 
 
~~~~~
 
 

Nestled into five beautiful acres just outside Hope Creek, Tennessee, Christmas Inn is an unforgettable place known for its joyful atmosphere and festive setting. Holiday decorations adorn each room. Trees glittering with ribbons and ornaments, gorgeous wreaths, velvet stockings and pine-scented candles brighten visitors’ stay at this vacation spot dedicated to Christmas all year, every year. The resort offers all the usual enticements plus one unique amenity…love. The little white chapel behind the inn, built by the Christmas family in the 1890s, boasts bell tower bells that toll when couples fall in love.

Every year people come to the inn looking for their Christmas spirit. Sometimes they find love too. Will the bells ring again this year?
 
 
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Mary Manners lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and their rescue dog Axel, mischievous cats Colby and Rascal, 6 rambunctious chickens, and 13 fish.
Mary writes small-town family romances laced with faith, hope, and humor. Her books have earned multiple accolades including two Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, the Aspen Gold, the Heart of Excellence, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.
Mary loves long sunrise runs, Smoky Mountain sunsets, flavored coffee, and chocolate…lots of chocolate.

1 comment:

  1. I love this tribute to your parents, Mary. Thanks for the reminder to treasure every day!

    ReplyDelete

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