Christmas Memories - Advent Messenger 2020

Two stories featured in the 2020 Advent Messenger by Katherine Hattersley and Vivian Hattersley.

 

 

Furry Family Members Arrive in Time for Christmas
by Katherine Hattersley

The first Christmas without my childhood pet was joyful, but also emptier. No longer was there a burly feline prowling around in the leftover wrapping paper or resting by the fireplace. The trash bag of ribbons and remnants remained unexplored and uncharted by a curious nose. Laps were empty, and there was no stocking hanging from the mantle jokingly labeled “Oscar.”

It was Christmas, so it was cheery, but there was a noticeable absence. It took a while for that space to be filled again, especially when my mother wasn’t ready to replace her “buddy” who’d stuck by her side from her early 20s until her oldest child was in fourth grade. Oscar had left some large shoes to fill. Perhaps this is why it was a job for two. The year I entered high school, there was a new stocking hanging from the mantle labeled “Luke and Jesse.” Two kittens, impossibly small and looking a little homely, had joined the family. The adoption agency insisted they were “brothers,” although their drastically different appearances and personalities suggested otherwise. Luke, like Oscar had done before, bravely mapped the living room, stealing tissue paper and running away with it before we could stop him. The trash bag was once again thoroughly explored, ribbons and stickers dragged from the bag and scattered across the room. Jesse sat under the tree, moving every few minutes when needles fell on him.

My grandmother delighted in their presence, trying to coax them into sitting next to her and showering them with cat toys and gifts that they didn’t take much interest in. Of course, the cats didn’t replace Oscar, but they filled a hole. Life and parts of it aren’t long for all of us, but maybe that’s the way God wanted it. Each new chapter in our lives may bring new people, experiences and lessons, and while change can be hard sometimes, it is important to remember there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long the road may seem. The most important thing is that we hold onto our memories and allow ourselves to make new ones.

 


 

My Most Memorable Christmas
by Vivian Hattersley

One Christmas memory that stands out is the Christmas of 2017. Because many of my family members live far away from one another, we usually have Christmas with our immediate family and those who live closest to us. My family hosts Christmas with my mom, dad, sister, and grandmother who travels down from New York. The Christmas of 2017, however, we spent with our cousins who live in Nebraska. They arrived three days before Christmas and stayed until my birthday, January 1. My parents kept it a surprise because they knew how excited my sister and I would be.

On the last day of school before Christmas break, I got off the bus and walked home. I immediately noticed that one of the cars was gone. Thinking nothing of it, I went inside and started my homework. About 30 minutes later, my dad pulled into the driveway with my aunt and uncle and their daughter Katie. Katie and I (as well as my other cousin Charlotte) are the same age, while all our other cousins are a lot older than us, so we always stuck together and were super excited to be spending Christmas together. We had a sleepover on Christmas Eve and woke up to open presents and eat pancakes together on Christmas morning. We haven’t been able to do so since, but I won’t ever forget that year.