Current News

Folks that won’t turn on their headlights have a zillion shining across their yards, hanging from trees, and following the gutter all around the house.

Who says that the wonders of Christmas are only for children?

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils

Gift... like the magi

Christmas has come, just like every year, and this marks a busy, busy time of the year, surpassed only, probably, by the “holidays” that get their “black” on early, and keep it seemingly forever! There are bright lights every which way! Folks that won’t turn on their headlights have a zillion shining across their yards, hanging from trees, and following the gutter all around the house.

It’s a magical time of year. People smile – or, hurrying past, don’t see you. Grocery stores are packed as self-proclaimed experts examine every ham, every turkey – even chit’lins – with an expertise of a surgeon who, after years of learning and training and practice, still seeks consultation from her peers. Can’t be too careful about the meat that will sit in the center of the table!

In a place close to the window a make-believe or honest-to-goodness virgin tree stands, shining and showing her beauty to all who pass by. Ornaments, some as old as the people who own the house, are hanging where they best show their beauty – even though they risk being moved at least two more times before the gifts are unwrapped… and speaking of gifts, in most houses, the mounds grow until the last person, a grownup, very likely the cook, crawls into bed.

I remember Christmas when I was growing up. We usually had a tree, even if I, the last kid in the house, had to cut it and drag it, up through the rows that earlier had sweet potatoes for the winter, then across the slab of concrete under the walnut tree, its surface stained a couple months earlier by hard-soled shoes that forced the hulls loose in preparation for drying.

Once dragged to the house, it was decorated. Popcorn strung to make white ropes was flung and arranged, and colored paper and anything else not needed for “reality,” were the final touches. There were no lights to blink or stay on continuously. There was no place to plug them in. The tree was a private affair.

Christmas morning came slowly. Even if there were more than the apple, orange, a handful of nuts, and hard candy – for instance, a painted doll for me or a BB gun for the boys – leaping from the bed to be first “on the scene” was highly unlikely: The floor was c-c-cold, as was the air above it! The room where the big stove was, the front room, adjoined our parents’ room, and we stayed under the cover until Daddy made the fire.

The best part of Christmas for me was the speeches. The colored school was up the hill from the church, a distance of about a block in town. Halfway down the hill the school janitor lived, and we waited at his house if “Mis’ Maybelle” was running late. None of us were uncomfortable. Folks were like parents.

“Mis’ Maybelle” talked “about a yard a minute,” and she always let me pick the longest poem. I adored her! Once my brother who was 2 years older went to high school “in town,” there was no competition!

Looking back, those simple Christmases are among my most precious memories. It marked for me acceptance, a chance to be just who I was – without judgment, without fear… free of everything but confidence!

As I reminisce, I think about children who never get the chance to feel pride, to be accepted for being different, however that difference shows itself, who are judged alongside people they will never, can never be. There are so many. Let’s give them a Christmas gift that doesn’t require batteries, a simple gift – the freedom to be who they really are… and to find favor in it!

See those children… and make it your mission to be that opening!

Story Posted:12/23/2017

» Feature Stories

Add Comment

Name (Requierd)  
Comment (Required)  

View Comments