Although it was first published in 1956, I wasn’t introduced to this Christmas gem until about six years ago. At a Christmas tea, my mother heard a man recite “A Christmas Memory” by heart in its entirety. I was late to the event, missing the entertainment, but when my mother mentioned a Christmas story I’d never read, I rushed to find it on the internet. You, too, can curl up in a cozy chair near a fire and enjoy it here.
I fell in love with Capote’s personal essay, which reads like a story. Later, I found an enchanting picture book version with illustrations by Beth Peck as well as an audio CD by Celeste Holm. Two mornings ago, as I tidied up the kitchen, I listened to it, letting the gentle words transport me, once again, to a happy kitchen in rural Alabama where fruitcakes are baking. I wished for the ingredients to make a fruitcake. For, although I adore this story, I must confess that I’ve never made a fruitcake. Nor, can I remember ever tasting one. (If any of you have a phenomenal recipe, I’d like to give it a try!)
Ah, but this story is about so much more than a little boy baking fruitcake with his elderly cousin. It is about the memories we make with the ones we love. It is about the beauty we experience on this earth, the children’s book moments, the times we glimpse God right here, in each other’s eyes, in a field of Christmas trees, in a homemade gift, in a blue sky. . . . The ending leaves me crying tears of what exactly? Tears resonating truth. Tears missing Capote’s cousin, who has become my friend and every loved one I’ve lost or have yet to lose.
Please take a moment to listen to this “penny” I found two Christmases ago. It was a thrill to discover a new Christmas carol that fills me with all the emotions of a classic. Sara Groves’ “To Be With You,” like Capote’s “A Christmas Memory,” will make you want to pull your loved ones close.
More Christmas “Pennies”:
A precious friend helped me make homemade cookie dough, roll it out, and cut out cookies for my extended family to decorate at the upcoming party. (In the past, all alone with this task, it has felt like a chore. But, with a friend to help, it felt like Christmas!)
My son found an actual penny, and placed it on my writing desk.
A hug with my grandfather, knowing this may be the last time he’ll be standing in my doorway
An extended visit from a kindred spirit
Friends dropping in unexpectedly, filling the house with conversation and laughter
More cookie dough, walked over by a dear neighbor, so my eldest wouldn’t feel left out
Hubby stuffing and stamping cards
This surprise Christmas post by a forever friend
An ornament for Little One left on our front door
Caroling loudly at a friend’s front door until she let us in 🙂
An invitation to a Christmas party
Hearing “Sleigh Ride” at a free concert and being mesmerized by the percussionists!
Rolling down the windows in our mini van to hear the clip-clopping hooves of white horses pulling carriages through a neighborhood filled with twinkling Christmas lights
Receiving cards in the mail from old friends, new friends, and family near and far
My eight-year-old saying that even houses with only one strand of lights “did a good job” (Maybe that’s because we only have two strands of lights on our porch ♥)
Reading Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell with my boys
Santa taking the time to talk with my sons on a misty night before the hayride commenced
My father and his brother and sisters singing “Silent Night” in harmony round my aunt’s piano
Daddy’s spontaneous tour of Christmas lights
I’m wishing each of you the wonder of a Christmas Eve night sky, the coziness of gathering with loved ones around a fire or a tree, and all the joy of Jesus. Merry Christmas!!!