A Christmas Story Pt 4: 6 Reminders for The Happy New Year

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We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.
― Ellen Goodman

We’ve been here before, on the eve of a new year! Whether it’s for religious, cultural or simply by choice, you did not celebrate Christmas, each new year is welcomed by people around the globe in celebration, promises to self that this year life will be appreciated more, all those things that left undone in the previous year, or years will finally be done. We all step into the new year with new hopes of making our days better than ones before.  The year is no different, on this eve of a new year my heart is filled with nothing but gratitude. I am so happy and grateful that I have made it this far with full mental faculties when many days in the past year I questioned whether or not I would. And not to put any additional pressure on me as well as to shield myself from disappointments, I have no great expectations for the incoming year because I will not live an anxious year of imagining what’s coming next.  But rather live my life in the present with the lessons of the past.

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A Christmas Story Pt. 3- The Stories Of Our Lives

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Down the chimney, St. Nicholas came with abound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

When Clement Clarke Moore penned this poem, I doubt he knew at the time how timeless this piece would become. Though it was written as a poem, it has transcended into an all-time favourite holiday story. Stories are a huge part of our lives, people tell their past with stories, they recite their present with stories and sometimes the future is foretold with stories. We all have stories to share, they are the collections of our experiences and the fundamental of our lives. Growing up on the island we passed the time with stories of the past, stories were how we kept our family heritage alive because each story was a story within a story. They were stories of love, hardship and many times loss. 

For centuries stories have been used to keep families and communities together. When you tell your story, you become immortalised because you’re not only sharing it with the person you’re telling it to but also all the other persons your story might be shared with. Telling the stories of our lives is a transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next, the stories my grandmother shared with me, I now share with my own children and also with many of my nieces and nephews. They’re not only learning about our family heritage, our family values, but they’re learning about their great-grandparents and their parents before them, the lives they lived, their hopes and dreams for the future. Retelling our family stories warms my heart because they bring not visions of sugarplums dancing in my head but visions of those who are no longer with us and it warms my heart to know that I’m now one of the storytellers in my family lineage.

Written, Verbal, those stories of us, the stories we choose to share with others, proves it doesn’t have to be a poem of a jolly guy with a sleigh and reindeers to be memorable. A story worth sharing is a story worth remembering. Have you shared your story?

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©Etta  D. Richards