Christmas: It’s a time to remember

  • By Nick C. Varney
  • Thursday, December 24, 2015 8:25am
  • News
Christmas: It’s a time to remember

We all have certain memories or thoughts of times and places that provide us with an internal source of warmth and comfort wherever we may be or what circumstances we face. Mine is of Christmases past and those held within the palm of the future.

It is a time of year to express the depth of our affection for each other and strengthen the bonds of friends and family. It is a time to reflect on the good in our lives and find fewer faults with the world. It is a time to allow regression to tempered childhood innocence, filled with expectation, unbridled excitement and a taste of simpler times gone by.

It is a time to heal old wounds … to reach out … to touch … to just dial a number. It is a time for the recollection of old friends or now distant relatives with whom we once shared a closer rapport. It is a time to gently bring tears to those who discover they have not been forgotten by merely mentioning something personal in a simple Christmas card. It is a time to forget petty grievances and allow the generosity of forgiveness.

It is a time to remember our loved ones now passed on, yet still so much part of us.  

For those of us who have faced isolation on Christmas, it is difficult to describe how one can feel the chasm of distance, yet be so deeply content because of emotional ties which grant our souls the spiritual passport required to be with those at the center of our hearts. 

The power of such unions stretch to wherever our distant loved ones dwell and serves as a beacon of hope and a guide back home. It is a metaphysical thread transcending life and death, empowering those fortuitous enough to experience it. 

With some of us, it is the mere symbolism of lighting a candle for those who cannot be physically with us to savor the taste of hot cider and help turn the front room into a jumble of discarded wrappings and far-flung bows.  The flickering glow fills a void and if one looks closely, they may see the glitter of old eyes, since departed, gazing upon the morning’s merriment … or just sense the affectionate closeness of a cherished spirit.

For those who lack a candle, they need merely close their eyes and allow the mind to take wing. Somewhere out there is the place or people they seek. It is a time when only you can confine or deny yourself. 

Jane and I will be celebrating this Christmas in our cabin by the sea and marking another milestone in our marriage that began on a prior eve many grand years ago. 

Although my parents’ ashes now grace the waves of Kachemak Bay, they’ll stop by and we’ll reminisce about those nights before Christmas when Santa would phone to chuckle that I’d better get to bed or he and his reindeer “would pass us by.”

I’d take off like a three-foot rocket in peejays to tell my folks about the call, but would discover Dad and Grandpa had left to go downtown just minutes before the phone rang. 

As I gaze at their candles and brush a bit of moisture from my eyes, I’ll see father smile and give gramps “the look” as I babbled the exciting news to them when they returned from their sudden errand.

During my military years and then working in the high north, I spent too many Christmases away from home but I always felt twice blessed.  

First, I felt no physical loneliness because of the fine camaraderie of my peers in the field. Second, every absent and treasured soul from my past or present was there with me as I opened … very tenderly … their spectral gifts of inimitable memories. 

They were the offerings of sanctuary and supportive love. They were the memories of love past given and of love awaiting my return. One must never forget the most precious gifts to have around the Christmas tree are friends and family, no matter where they may be.

As always on December 25, my wife and I will, once again, be surrounded by those priceless treasures.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.

More in News

Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. The veteran Alaska legislator was passing through Homer while waiting to take the M/V Tustumena ferry to Kodiak. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Clem Tillion, PFD founder and former legislator, dies at 96

Tillion died Wedneday, Oct. 13, at Halibut Cove home.

Thunder Mountain High School on April 18.  Earlier this fall, vandalism including stolen soap dispensers and toilets clogged with foreign objects such as paper towel rolls were a problem at schools nationwide and in Juneau. But, principals say the local situation is improving. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
After brief surge, vandalism subsiding at local high schools

Principals say internet trends, stress likely behind incidents.

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, heads to a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Alaska man faces federal charges after authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill Murkowski, according to court documents unsealed Wed., Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite,File)
Delta Junction man faces charges over threatening Murkowski’s life

Authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill the senator.

Donna Aderhold recites the Homer City Council oath of office and is sworn in for duty at the city council meeting on Oct. 11. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
New council members sworn into duty Monday

Newly-elected Homer City Council members Shelly Erickson and Jason Davis and re-elected… Continue reading

Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Vandalism and theft reported at Tsalteshi Trails

One trail user reported stolen skis recently and multiple signs have been defaced.

At left Bonita Banks, RN, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) nurse at Homer Medical Center, and at right, Annie Garay, RN, Community Health Educator, pose for a photo at South Peninsula Hospital on Sept. 27, 2021, at Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
New hospital community health educator starts

Garay, a Homer raised nurse, came home to ride out COVID-19, wound up doing pandemic nursing.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Montessori school goes to universal indoor masking

As of Tuesday, eight KPBSD schools were operating with universal indoor masking for staff and students.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Crabbers look at cuts to quotas

Tanner, opilio crab quotas cut on top of cancellation of fall king crab fishery.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Judge sides with psychiatrists who alleged wrongful firing

Two psychiatrists said they were wrongfully fired when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took office.

Most Read