Dec 17, 2008

No Money Equals No Tree - Memories of our First Christmas

This is a re-post I shared on another blog last year. As my dear sister-in-law so aptly put, it shows "that our richest memories are those tied with heart-strings and not purse-strings."
When my Baby wore this apron that my mother gave me, it brought me back nineteen years ago to a little basement apartment in St. Louis when I first donned this apron. Sweet, sweet memories of a Christmas when we had NO money to spend for presents or a tree! When The Salesman told me we had no money for a tree, I wondered if I'd married Scrooge himself. NO TREE - I must have misunderstood; but no, he was firm - no money equals no tree. And his family and mine were coming for the Christmas holidays!!! Gasp! Sigh! Cry! And that didn't matter either - still - no money equals no tree. We were not going into debt. How thankful I am as I look back on that first Christmas together.

So my mind went into gear - What do we have that we could we give as gifts? For my husband's family:
I sewed and stuffed a bear from some lovely remnants of Ralph Lauren fabric for my sister-in-law. She still has the bear today. I took a picture of my in-laws that we had taken at the Biltmore House and gave it to them in a frame that we had. The youngest brother-in-law, which was still a young-un', got a re-gifted item - a new red tie and red socks that had been given to my man. The Salesman had to dress conservatively and this tie was too bright to be considered conservative. And what successful salesman wears bright red socks???

For my family:
Dear ones, I can not remember what I gave you that year. I'm wondering, did I just call and tell you that I thought I had married Scrooge, but ask for you to please come see us anyway? I do not remember. If you remember, please share with me. But I have the sweetest memory of my dad reclining in the chair that was *left* in the basement apartment for us. And oh, my dear mother, sitting beside him on the side of the chair, with her arm around him. Committed love, a picture imprinted on my mind of committed, caring, giving, unselfish, servant love. And *the gift* I was given from my brother, The Accountant, who was so extravagant with the gift column of his ledger for me that year when "no money equaled no tree". The gift was so lavishly wrapped and the box imprinted with the name of an upscale store, I was in utter disbelief - this was for me? I'm the "no money, no tree, but come see me" sister. In that box was, not one, but two - a set - of what I'd just started collecting. Almost nineteen years later, as I cleaned some candle wax off *the gift* the other day, I was again blessed by the sweet memories of that gift and the circumstances that surrounded us that first year.

On Christmas eve that year, The Salesman came home with a bonus check!!! I'm getting excited just typing about that bonus check - His first job - we didn't know he'd get a bonus! We, (OK, I) was like a little child - we headed to the tree lot. By the way, there is not much selection at the tree lots on Christmas Eve, but the prices are fabulous! And we had to cut our Charlie Brown Christmas tree down to fit in our basement apartment! And we had money for warm and delightful Christmas meals with our family which I served in that lovely plaid apron!

Reflecting on that first shared Christmas, there are three things I'm thankful for:

The Salesman has never allowed me to spend what we didn't have, even though that first Christmas I *thought* it couldn't be Christmas without a tree. Biblical principles put into practice even when I was a whining and crying wife.

I'm thankful for memories, precious memories of my first married Christmas with my man and my last earthly Christmas with my momma. I saw Jesus fleshed out in her, Jesus with skin on to serve and love, committed love.

I'm blessed that my brother was so extravagant with me, even when I had nothing to give. Do you see Jesus in that? I do. Thank you brother, Thank You Lord.


Lori Anne said...

Lora, Such a sweet post. It brought me to tears. Thank you for the reminder of what the gifts should be. Have a blessed Christmas again this year.

fuzzytop said...

Great post Lora,


Kimberly said...

I love stories like you have in this post. Wonderful Lora. Thanks for sharing it again just so we who didn't see it last year could see it now.

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving me a message. :)

Bless you.

Becca said...

Hi Lora, What sweet memories of so many things! Looking back it is usually the simplest things that bring the most pleasure. You were learning to be a submissive wife too and didn't probably even know how those decisions made then would be seen today and treasured. Good post!

Cindy said...

Memories of the early days are sweet memories aren't they? I enjoyed this post.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.


luvmy4sons said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Merry Christmas to you!

Nancy Mon said...

Nice to meet your Lora. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I loved this post and it reminded me of our first Christmas married. I will be back for sure.

B His Girl said...

How wonderful were the surprises and blessings God sent you! He's so good. I think your Salesman is wise, even when it wasn't a fun decision. Please say a prayer for the tea party. Thanks, B

"Just Me - NC Beth" said...

Lora, I sit here with tears in my eyes as I read about yours and "Salesman's" first Christmas....How special!
I so admire you for "making" gifts to give...using what you had...and that even now those given gifts are still special that is.

And thank you for sharing with us....


Jules said...

Aw, dear. I'm reading this at work and I'm sure my co-worker, who just walked up, left wondering, "Why is Julie teary-eyed?" I am, but with a smile. That is a lovely memory. I heard on the radio yesterday, which stuck with me, "With every trial is a gift." How so true that is. I looked over at my little girl, who just turned 14, and said, "Honey, that statement is so true...always remember that."

ocean mommy said...

This was just beautiful Lora! Took me back to our first married Christmas!