Monday, December 14, 2020

Christmas Past


The year 2020 will be remembered as the year Christmas was cancelled! 

So, I've asked members of the congregation to share their best memory from Christmases past. 

Kay says all her Christmas memories are wonderful. This year will be memorable because of what it is not. Meanwhile, she is very happy with her living arrangements. The facility has created ways for residents to dine together, exercise and socialize in a safe way.

Janet S. writes: 

One of my favourite Christmas memories was 50 years ago. 

I was a house mother at a Dr. Barnardo's Home in Canterbury and so I didn't generally get to spend Christmas at my home, I was with the children.
However, in 1970 I had just had my tonsils out and I was at my home following the surgery. 
It snowed that Christmas and I had big plans for Boxing day. 
Peter was scheduled to come down from his home in Ilford, Essex to Folkestone, Kent where I lived, (about 80 miles apart) as that was the day we were to get engaged!
I remember standing there, looking out of the window, waiting, waiting, waiting and hoping he would make it safely. I thought he'd never come because of the snow, (no cell phones in those days) but the wait was worth it! He did finally arrive 2 hours late, along with his brother, I'm not sure if David came for moral support or to help him in case of problems on the road. However, Peter finally arrived safely and in one piece and we became officially engaged and were married in March. We left England in August and came to live in Sidney on Resthaven Drive, the rest is history.
It was definitely a day of hope, peace, joy and love for me. 
That wait was so worth it, as is the wait now to  celebrate Christ's birth and ultimately for His return.

Noel related a few anecdotes from his years in ministry. The first was while he was still a student at Knox college in 1978. One of his professors invited a group of students to his home during the Christmas season. When they got there they discovered a room decorated for the season, the lights dimmed, and large cushions scattered on the floor. The students sat on the cushions in the twilit room and shared their thoughts on Knox College, belief, the role of religion, as well as some personal stories about their lives. At the end of the evening, their professor administered communion. Was it the setting, the shared talk or the intimacy of the situation? Whatever the reason, that evening has stayed as a highlight in Noel's memory.

The second story comes from his time at his first charge in Medicine Hat in the mid-1980's. Christmas Eve the church was packed, all but the front row. At a minute before the service started six of his friends came racing in and had to sit right in front of him, although their usual pew was at the very back. He noticed they were giggling and whispering, "Did anybody lift the scissors?" These were special friends of his, four Scots and two Irish, and their odd behaviour puzzled him until the drove home after the service. There, strung across the front of the manse, illuminated by large flood lights that had the neighbours gawking, was a large banner reading, "Happy 50th Birthday, Noel." The friends had to wait until he'd gone to church before putting up their banner. Hence their late arrival at the service and their glee at the surprise they knew awaited him.

Later in his ministry, Noel's daughter and family had moved to Victoria but, as a minister, he could not join them for Christmas celebrations. Instead, in January he and Edna came to Victoria for a second Christmas with family, complete with gifts, carols, a tree and candles. The grandchildren thought it was perfect!

Stay tuned, next week I'll have more of Noel's memories to share.

My cat, self-isolating

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