By George Morgan
My first 22 Christmases produced no real memories with one exception. When I was six or seven I was selected (appointed) to appear in a play of the Christmas story according to Luke. My role was as the narrator of the story. "In the same country there were shepherds abiding in fields tending their flocks by night...” I have two memories of that experience 75 years ago. Number one, of Luke's words (mostly verbatim) and number two, the abject terror I felt in reciting them to an audience.
My 23rd Christmas was an event that dramatically confirmed the new arc of my life. It is the first Christmas celebration that I can remember with any clarity. I had traveled to California for the first in person contact with my wife-to-be since we had become engaged. I was in the process of finishing work on a Master's degree in engineering and managed to land several job interview trips that just happened to coincide with Christmas break from school and just happened to be in California, the technical mecca of the world in 1960.
My parents had divorced when I was six and after shuffling from school to school and place to place for almost two years my Mother finally had the good sense to deposit me with her parents. I lived with them until I was 16. My Grandparents had a "mixed" marriage. Grandma was a German Catholic and Grandpa was an Irish Protestant. Neither of their families was happy with their union. I guess part of the marriage contract was that religion was not up for discussion. In any event even after I started attending a local UMC church just on my own when I was 12, Christmas was just never a big deal. Not as a religious event, nor a secular event. No big family gatherings or even a special dinner. No Christmas cards in the mail and mostly by economic necessity no gift exchanges that I can recall.
Fast forward seven years (my 23rd Christmas) and here I was celebrating with a woman for whom Christmas WAS a big deal. Both religious and secular. Christmas lights everywhere. All the friends and family she introduced me to had Christmas trees and decorated homes and plans for midnight church services. I was overwhelmed and in awe. And of course we were busy making plans for how our lives might unfold. Some happened, some didn't. But the emotional highs of those days caused the memories to be deeply imbedded. We are about to celebrate our 60th Christmas together even though my frequent disparagement of the commercial aspects of Christmas celebrations has earned me the title of Scrooge.
Trinity Advent Devotional
Welcome to Advent, 2020, a season like no other. These readings, throughout the Advent season, have all been written by staff and members of Trinity. We hope you’ll enjoy the opportunity to get to know one another better through these prayers, devotions and stories. Even in this challenging time, we celebrate this opportunity to grow in love and service through our relationships with God and with one another.