“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale
It feels like everything comes to life this time of year. Lights are glistening, decorations are hung, cheery music is playing and there is excitement in the air. The excitement for holiday gatherings with friends and family, festivities full of cheer, and the smell of a fresh new year.
Noah and I decorated our silvertip Christmas tree this past weekend. While doing so, we were greeted with a special surprise: snow! It felt like we were in our hometown of York, PA, because where we live now in Auburn, CA, this is a rarity. The average snowfall for Auburn is one inch per year. The last time we saw snow in Auburn was in 2010. Noah and I were filled with such excitement. As we stepped out our front door we were quickly reminded of the serene silence that surrounds one when it snows. As I hung the decorations on our tree and watched the beautiful snow lay on each branch of the foliage in our ravine, I reminisced on the magic of Christmas as a child.
I can still feel that happiness and excitement that filled my heart. The way mom decorated the inside and outside of our house to perfection. How I could not wait to wake up Christmas morning to see all of the presents for me and my brother under our tree. Even as I grow older, the magic of this time of year does not diminish because those memories bring it back to life. I thought to myself, “What are my favorite holiday memories?”
I had two that immediately popped into my mind. One was the Christmas of 2001. I was at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The cysts on my kidneys would not stop bleeding. I was given many blood transfusions and my team of doctors were contemplating the removal of both of my kidneys, which did occur on January 25, 2002. The prognosis was not good. My parents decorated my hospital room for Christmas. When I close my eyes I can still see what that room looked like and feel the love that surrounded me.
Also, a couple of years after my transplant, I was living on my own and at that time was too ill to decorate a tree for Christmas. My parents came over to visit. I was upstairs sleeping. When I awoke, I walked down the stairs to find a beautiful and completely decorated Christmas tree in my living room. The sparkling lights and the love that was displayed that day still fills my heart with such joy.
I smiled, reflecting on these priceless memories as I hung a decoration on our tree that reads, ‘Hope.’ Whether I was in the hospital or in a cozy warm home, my parents did all they could to make my Christmas memorable. I thought it was interesting that the Christmas memories that stood out the most to me were the holidays that were the most challenging. When going through hardships, it shines an extra light on what matters and the things we are most thankful for. Thank you mom and dad for always making my holidays magical and for teaching me that …
“Christmas magic is silent. You don’t hear it—you feel it, you know it, you believe it.” -Kevin Alan Milne
What are your favorite holiday memories?