Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

December 12, 2013

On The Bright Side – Mary Howell

Filed under: Mary Howell — Freddie Keel @ 6:50 am




Christmas time brings back wonderful memories of happy times during my childhood days.  Since my Dad was a minister, the month of December focused on a variety of church activities.


We got into the Christmas spirit early and put up the Christmas tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Our tree was filled with treasured ornaments.  Some were handmade by my sisters, Jane and Clara.  The old fashioned bubble lights and shiny icicles were like putting the icing on the cake. They gave our tree a beautiful sparkle!


Mom started the tradition of making a handmade stocking for everyone in the family as sons-in-law and grandchildren became a part of the family.  Stockings were added for each new addition.  Mom took the time to hand embroidery the names with green thread to make the red stockings more beautiful.


Jane, Clara and I took delight in putting up Mom’s manger scene.  Each character looked authentic.  Now our manger scene is more than 75 years old and still holds a special place in our heart.


Another Howell tradition was to hang a wreath of mistletoe above  a prominent doorway.  When someone got caught under the mistletoe, we would rush to give them an unexpected kiss.


Every year, we looked forward to the annual Christmas pageant at church.  When Jane and Clara were youngsters, they played angels in the pageants.  Then when I came along, I also donned a tin foil halo and sparkly wings that were made by our mother.  I now treasure a photo of being dressed as an angel which was made when I was 8 years old. The photo was among the keepsakes of Pansy Adickes and was given to me in recent years by her daughter, Sharon Crowell.

Christmas parties were also fun for us but one that stands out in my memory was the Christmas in August party that my mother gave for the church children.  She would make her own Christmas tree out of chicken wire and pine limbs since August was not the time for Christmas trees. The children would bring a small gift to send to a missionary in South America.  The gifts would arrive just in time for Christmas.


Above all, the most important part of Christmas was sharing God’s love with others. We got joy out of sharing the story of Jesus with our friends and loved ones.  We got special joy in selecting a gift that represents Christ’s love.


Let us remember that Jesus is the “Reason for the Season” and let us be sure to put Christ back into Christmas.

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