The memories of past Christmas gatherings will have to do this holiday season says a central Alberta writer. (File photo)

The memories of past Christmas gatherings will have to do this holiday season says a central Alberta writer. (File photo)

Family: Past Christmas memories will do this year

It looks like COVID, like a thief in the night, has plans to steal Christmas.

It is true. Dec. 25, for many of us, will not be the same.

The sounds of silence on a frosty winter morn will not be interrupted by the persistent sound of the doorbell.

And there will be no guests standing on the front step, arms laden with presents, stamping their feet against the cold and the snow, anxious to step inside where it is warm and cozy and smells like Christmas.

There will be none of that thanks to COVID.

And there will be no tables groaning with food as guests of all ages and from every walk of life sit on chairs pulled too close together to make room for one, two or seven more.

It is so good, Christmas.

In my house I have done that oh, so many times. I have made room for one or 20 more, just because. Just because I could, just because I wanted to and just because, from my understanding at least, that is what Christmas is all about.

And so, I pull out the extra table, struggle to make it look as pretty as the main one and try to arrange the seating so the guests, the special and wonderful Christmas guests are seated at the main table.

Really, I do not mind sitting at the kids’ table. It is here I learn facts that as a grandma I should probably know, anyway. I can, if I play it right, be the invisible fly against the wall, and as I make sure the little ones and the ones that are not so little get mashed potatoes and gravy and the stuffing does not disappear over the main table, find out stuff.

I like that about the kids’ table.

In the end I breathe a sigh of relief because the meal, though never cooked to perfection, is pretty much as perfect as you can get on this side of heaven, is a success and no one has gone away hungry.

It is going to be a lot different this year.

And I, for one, will feel sad and somewhat lost, knowing that I cannot physically reach out and touch my dear and beloved family and friends as in days of yore, but, oh my goodness, I know that that sadness will dissipate as quickly as it came, when I remember to be grateful.

And I am grateful.

I am grateful for the memories.

The memories of a homemade star, the beautiful tree at the Sunday School concert, the delight on the faces of my children and grandchildren when we are all together, the smells of turkey cooking and the sounds of laughter ringing down throughout the pages of Christmases past.

Hey, those are mine. You cannot have them COVID.

I am grateful I was not alive in 1918 when the Spanish Flu rocked the world and there was no Zoom, Snapchat, or Instant messenger to soften the impact.

COVID-19 will not last forever.

And guess what. I do not have a real tree, anyway, so it is not going to dry out no matter when we get together. And the presents. There is no expiry date on any of them, as far as I can tell.

And, I know, in my heart of hearts that we will all get together one day soon and have our own Christmas.

And it will be good. A day worthy of celebration. A day to rejoice, be together and laugh and hug each other and be grateful.

And until that time, it is good to be grateful anyway.

And hopeful.

Hope is another ingredient of Christmas woven in invisible threads into the day which began so long ago in a simple manager with the birth of the Christ child.

And we all need it. We all need a little hope to go along with the good cheer and peace on earth.

Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.

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