We have a Christmas village in our decorations that evokes memories for me. When it is arranged and the lights are turned on I become nostalgic for a world that possibly never existed.
Although I have never lived in a real village like it that is the way a village should be. I visualize the people in each building anticipating the coming of Christmas. When we were in Europe we visited a year-round Christmas village that evoked the same emotion. It was summer time and we had just crossed the Alps where snow was higher than our bus along the road and it was stacked in huge mounds everywhere.
Today economists and politicians are bemoaning that people are not spending enough for Christmas because many merchants and companies rely on such spending for as much as half or more of their annual income. Others are depending on credit card expenditures to help rescue the country from it current economic malaise and it just may not happen.
I wonder what Christmas has become.
I have been aware for more years than I like to remember that there are two Christmas celebrations. The spiritual observance has its flag bearer one Jesus, Son of God and Savior of the world and the secular has its flag bearer Santa Claus, reindeer driving, pipe smoking, red-suited purveyor of presents for children and adults around the globe.
From my perspective, Santa likely has the most disciples. It is said that the stages of man are you believe in Santa, you become Santa and then you look like Santa. As a child Santa received the emphasis in our house. In my family we have striven to maintain a balance between the two.
Many years ago BW worked part-time in a ceramic shop when she made the village. It reminds me of Christmas as a child and when our children were young. Perhaps as it was said about Norman Rockwell that he painted America not as it was but as he wanted it to be, I am caused to remember Christmas as I want it to be.
Each year I am transported out of time and place and find myself back on R.R. 1, Highland Township with my parents, sister and brother. I can still smell the cedar tree that dad brought in from the farm. Our house was decorated very simply as was the tree. I remember when mom got bubble lights. They were enchanting. There were never any presents under the tree until Christmas morning. The night before we were as sleepy as a Chihuahua on amphetamines. We couldn't sleep.
Much too early for mom and dad we tumbled down the stairs with eyes so large we could have been in a Disney movie. The tree was beautiful and the presents were even more so. What joy we had in simple gifts. I can still see the contentment in my mother's eyes as she watched us open our presents. Dad beamed as he seldom did. I wish we could return to those halcyon days.
Larry Vandeventer grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School. He lives in Plainfield and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written five books.