When I turn the pages of my diary of treasured memories, I find it is several decades since that Wedding Anniversary with a difference. A picture comes to mind of two little girls, Louise, nine or ten years old, with straight blond hair; and Tracy, 12 years with darker soft curling hair. They were granddaughters staying for the school holidays. Their stay coincided with our wedding anniversary.
As was my practice, at first light, I lay in bed considering the tasks to be done and sorted them out in order of priority before getting dressed.
The day seemed to offer only the usual mundane jobs of cleaning and cooking. Nothing unusual seemed on the horizon, other than two granddaughters who chattered like a pair of starlings.
At breakfast Tracy, the instigator, suggested, “We want to take you and Poppa to a Restaurant for your Anniversary.”
“How are you going to do that?” I asked, knowing they could not afford such an outing.
“Louise and I want to cook dinner for you tonight and be waitresses, so you don’t have to do any work. It’s going to be a surprise. Just as if you were at the Restaurant.”
After lunch, my husband Bruce and I were banished from the kitchen. There was a great deal of feverish activity, banging of pots and even calls, “Where is the electric fry pan,” or “Where is this ingredient or that kept?”
Late in the afternoon the activities changed and I was requested to provide two Aprons. It was time for the cooks to become waitresses. They dressed appropriately and set the table attractively and turned the room into a make believe restaurant.
Finally we were invited to enter, after having dressed for dinner ourselves. We were served drinks and then escorted to the table and served with great aplomb and ceremony, the entrée. The two young waitresses were at our elbows inquiring if this was to our taste, was that suitable. Did we require another drink? Never were there two more attentive waitresses.
We had to assure them, “It was the most succulent and tastiest meal that we had ever savoured. The chicken casserole in Coca-Cola is so unusual.”
“This restaurant has a very high standard of cuisine, doesn’t it, Bruce?”
Yes,” he replied, adding,” I’m going to make sure I tell all my friends about it.”
The young waitresses giggled, appreciating the role-play. With the thought in mind of how the girls had toiled all afternoon, we suggested, “come and sit down and eat with us.”
With horror they replied, “Oh, no, we can’t eat with you, we are the waitresses.”
I pause over this memory with a full heart. These girls had toiled all afternoon to give us a wonderful meal and a memorable Anniversary. No present could have been as valuable as the meal. It was made and served with everything part of themselves.
With a sigh I close my diary of memories and ponder over what it means to have a family and be part of a family. Where relationships are close, where love, respect and appreciation are high on the list.
Family structures are under much pressure today. The family in many ways is on the endangered list. Yet I believe God will preserve The Family for it is a model of his larger family. He will preserve it here on earth even though it is disregarded as old fashioned and obsolete. Family is about being together, though diverse. It is about loving yet letting go. It is about submitting to one another but yet being free to be who we are.
Christmas is about celebrating an anniversary. The anniversary of Jesus’birth. The Christmas Anniversary is about family, Mary and Joseph returned to their roots and Jesus was born in his ancestral home.
Christmas is about God coming to earth in the person of Jesus and drawing humanity together into one big family by faith. Faith that Jesus death released us from failure, fear and misbehaviour and reconciled us to the Father.
Christmas has many meanings for many people. Christmas, is about God coming to earth to redeem humanity, to save humanity and create one family who accepts him through his Son Jesus