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Remembering the sweet wounds of Christmas

It’s difficult to accurately label it with words. The nearest I can communicate is a “sweet wound.” I’m referring to the memories associated with those loved ones who were very special parts of Christmases past.

Both sets of my grandparents lived less than a mile from my childhood home. I was blessed more than I ever fully realized.

My paternal grandparents always had their large, freshly cut cedar tree in the “sitting” room — their formal room where the upright piano was stationed. During family Christmas gatherings all the cousins would gather for caroling around that mammoth music-maker. We cousins who were steeped in John Thompson piano lessons manned the piano bench and were known to make that cedar tree shimmy with some of our renditions.

We’ve been without those grandparents and family caroling a long, long time. Those memories are sweet wounds.

My maternal grandparents had the matching live cedar tree in their living room, but it was the dining room that made the most memories. Behind the French doors that opened to that room, my grandmother moved a second large table and butted it against their formal dining table. The now banquet table was so long that she had to run it cater-cornered in the room.

Yes, the seating was tight and maneuverability limited, but no one complained. All those family members who were blessed to sit around it understood and anticipated the fare that would be served on Mama’s best china. Even her special burgundy-red water glasses would make their annual appearance.

The buffet cabinet that hugged the wall behind the tables was a major and sizeable adornment to the room — not because of its expanded size. It was what sat on its surface that made it better than a tooth fairy visit.

Every cake that my grandmother ever created was repeated at Christmas. Cake stands and plates on china, crystal pedestals and trays covered that buffet. I remember chocolate, cherry, pineapple, coconut, fresh apple and a whiskey-soaked fruitcake that relaxed Mama’s prohibition stance once a year.

That beautiful, sugar-coated dining room has been gone for years, along with the grandparents that were a part of so many happy Christmases. Time never stops robbing and leaving us without a loved one.

So that’s a portion of my “sweet wounds” of Christmas. But I’m not alone. Everyone who’s loved has or must experience the “withouts” of Christmas that leave us with the sweet wounds.

However, let us remind ourselves as often as needed that the birth of our Savior made it possible to heal the wounds of sin and death. His name is Immanuel. God with us — eternally. How wonderful is that?!

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camille@datalane.net.