Home Equipping Leaders Native American A Child's Memory of Christmas

A Child's Memory of Christmas

Today when I think of Christmas I know that I am celebrating the birth of Jesus. I think of Christmas trees, lights, singing, presents, food, and visiting family. However my childhood memory of Christmas is quite different.

When I was very young at Christmas my siblings and I would awaken early in the morning and look under our beds. There we would find a small gift such as fruit or nuts. It was the only time of the year when I could eat all the cake I wanted because my mother made all kinds and they sat all over our little kitchen. My favorites were banana and chocolate. When I began school I heard and read about Christmas trees and wrapped presents. Christmas changed for me. I learned that at Christmas time you needed a Christmas tree, so my older sisters, little brother and I went in the woods searching for a holly tree with red berries. These trees were the trees used for Christmas trees.

We brought different colors of construction paper home from school to make circles, which we hung on the tree. We also strung popcorn and hung it on the tree. It was very beautiful then, but as I look back on it today I know it was a Charlie Brown tree compared to my teacher's at school. She had this beautiful tree with bubble lights that looked like miniature candles. They were red, green and yellow. After they were warm, they would bubble from bottom to top. Those beautiful lights mesmerized me and I don't remember anything that we did at school because I spent my days looking at the lights on that tree. Christmas after that was never the same. No lights ever looked so beautiful as those did that Christmas.

Today, with the same kind of bubble lights, I cannot capture the beauty of the pretty lights on the first real decorated Christmas tree I ever saw. As I look back at Christmas so long ago I realize that in a child's eyes, it is a wonderful time for one to see the beauty in a lighted tree, a present under a bed, a search for a holly tree, and all the cake one can eat. A beautiful thing cherished in the eyes of a child one Christmas so long ago.

Daphine Locklear Strickland is a member of Triad Native American United Methodist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is affiliated with the Lumbee and Tuscarora tribes.

©2007 Daphine Lochlear Strickland. Used by Permission. Reproduction granted for use in church worship services.

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