Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky at Christmastime or almost Christmas, anyway. I am so excited. Are you? I love Christmas.
What do I love about Christmas in Hollyhill? I like the red and green lights the county workers string up on the street light posts. I like the pine tree in front of the courthouse with a star on top and lights draped around it. I love the Christmas parade with the sirens and at the end, Santa waving from the firetruck. I used to sit on Santa's lap and wish for things Santa could never get in his sack. Like my mother and Tabitha coming back.
But then Dad told me that wasn't the kind of thing to think about Santa doing. That it was the Lord I needed to be talking to. I'm so glad the Lord is there to talk to any time and that I can just look up and ask him about things anytime. That's another thing I like about Christmas - that it was when Jesus was born. I like singing the carols at church even though we squeak a little on those high notes. I like seeing the Christmas pageant with the angels in tinsel halos. I liked being one of them when I was a little kid. Now I get to watch and take pictures.
I like that about Christmas too. Getting to take pictures. Film and flashbulbs are always on my Christmas list. I don't know which I want to be most - a photographer or a writer. Dad says I don't have to decide yet since I'm only fourteen. Good thing because I couldn't. Tabitha warns me that sometimes life pushes us down paths we don't expect to walk, like her here with little Stephen. But that's okay. I guess I was pushed down some of those paths before I was old enough to know about anything, but it turned out okay. Dad says the Lord had a lot to do with that. (You can read more about that in Scent of Lilacs - still a free download, whatever that means.)
But back to Christmas. I like our cedar tree that we cut out on Miss Sally's farm and decorated with things we've had forever. Aunt Love has a bell that belonged to her mother. We put it up high so Stephen can't reach it. But I look at that bell and try to see back through the years to when Aunt Love was my age. That's hard to do. And then I think about someday somebody in my family, some kid sometime, might look at one of the ornaments I'm putting on the tree and wonder about how I was right now. I like wondering about things like that.
Mostly I like how we all get together and give gifts to each other. Not because we have to but because we want to. Some of them homemade. Some of them from the store. All will be wrapped in love. Wes will give me a big chocolate candy bar and tell me a Jupiter story. Dad will get me a new notebook and pen and shoes and stuff. Leigh will get me a blouse that is way fancier than anything I ever wear. Tabitha will get me a book and books always make me happy. Aunt Love will give me a muffler she's knitted. It's okay that I have three already. She can't remember that she knitted them last year.
I love Christmas. I love that baby Jesus was born and brought joy to the world!
Merry Christmas to all of you! Tell me what you like about Christmas. Now or when you were a kid like me.
(I didn't have time to write more about Bailey, Skelley and Lucinda this week, but they are heading out into the dark unknown on the far side of the road. I'll figure out what happens next and write it next week.)