Jan. 2, 2021

My favourite Christmas story

My favourite Christmas story was related to me by a family acquaintance who grew up in an urban setting. We discussed the hard times our families had to deal with during the depression of the 1930s. I was too young to know the experiences directly, but she was old enough to be an aunt.

Her story was about the 1931 Christmas:

“We had little to enjoy that Christmas as my father had been laid off from work. We could not get a traditional turkey and would have to make do with a tube of bologna. We were not looking forward to Christmas day. 

“On Christmas eve, my mother announced that we would all have a bath on Christmas morning and put on our best clothes for Christmas dinner. We all did as told. 

“Just after noon on Christmas day, we were called to dinner. We passed bowls of vegetables, stuffing and gravy around. Mother had heated the bologna in the oven and put it on a platter in front of my father. He had brought out the carving knife and fork kept for our special dinners. 

“Father turned to my brother, the oldest of the children and asked what part he would like. He caught on and asked for a drumstick. Father cut a slice of the bologna and carefully placed it on the plate he held out. So it went around the table and the bologna produced at least four drumsticks.

“Dessert was a piece of chocolate on a small plate. We took time to savour the morsel while we each told the others about our favourite Christmas memory. 

“Then we retired to the living room and exchanged gifts, which were either trinkets we could buy for pennies or hand-made. We all expressed delight over the gifts we received and amazement over the ingenuity of some gifts.

“No one felt deprived or left out. Christmas was heartwarming. While we lacked what we wanted, we had what we needed.

It is my favourite Christmas story as it illustrates two qualities of my family, friends and neighbours.  

First is the power of positive thinking. Circumstances can’t beat us down unless we allow them.

The second is that people of character will not allow circumstances and events to define them.

We are a free people. Depressions and epidemics are temporary reminders of how well we live most of the time. Coronavirus and COVID-19 are an unwelcome intrusion but do not change who we are.

Christmas is a time of reflection and renewing of our personal beliefs. Hope springs eternal and drives us to overcome our current adversities.

I wish each of you and your families a Christmas season that gives you time to rest, reflect and resolve to turn 2020 into a bad memory and 2021 into the year when we recover and rejuvenate.