Christmas Memories on the Farm

The Bigger Picture

Livestock barn reminds me of the stable at Bethlehem.

Published on: December 19, 2013
 

I have many fond memories of Christmas seasons growing up on the farm and since. I'm sure you do as well. One of my favorites is when we were raising sheep a few years ago. We had hung a lighted star in the gable end of the sheep barn as a Christmas decoration.  During December and January I usually left a small light on in the barn in case a ewe decided to lamb.

One evening, shortly before Christmas, after chores I stood and looked back at the sheep barn.  The ground was covered with new-fallen snow; the cold, clear sky twinkled with millions of stars, a low amber light shown through the barn windows and our lighted star shined brightly above the barn door. It was a truly peaceful scene and reminded me of the scene of our Savior's birth in Bethlehem.

The greatest miracle of all time.
The greatest miracle of all time.

Growing up on the farm in Missouri, Santa usually came on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas morning. The farm house where I grew up did not have a living room door that could be locked. So, often my dad would take us to town to look at the Christmas decorations after supper on Christmas Eve. Lo and behold, by the time we returned home Santa had been there. Mom claimed she never saw him.

On Christmas day we usually went to my grandpa and grandma's. Their big farm house did have a lockable door on the "front room". And sure enough, it was locked and stayed locked until after Christmas dinner. Of course, we kids kept checking the lock on door until by "magic" we found it unlocked and we poured into the room delighted to see the packages under the lighted Christmas tree. Sometimes Santa (one of my uncles) even showed up to hand out gifts.

My grandmother always had a little village under the tree – lighted houses, nativity scene, skating rink, etc. That stuck with me as I now build a "village" complete with model railroad, lighted houses, ice fishing, ski slopes, and on and on. I hope my grandkids keep that as a memory as well.

We are buying a bicycle for our granddaughter for Christmas. Reminds me of my first bike when I was about her age. I desperately wanted a bike for Christmas that year, but when all the gifts were opened, no bike!  Sensing my despair, my dad said, "Keep looking".  Finally, I discovered it – they had cleverly parked it behind the couch. They thought they were so smart. If only they knew how heart-broken I was when I didn't see the bike at first.

That bike was a "stripped down version." No hand brakes, etc. One day shortly after Christmas when I was trying to learn to ride the thing, I decided to coast down the short, but fairly steep hill between the shop and the cattle barn. My dad was coming up from the barn, and, seeing me flying uncontrollably down the hill, shouted, "Use your brakes!" I replied, "What brakes?"  No one told me that reversing the pedals would apply brakes to the rear wheel! I can still see that "crash" in my mind's eye.

When our family gets together on Christmas Day we'll no doubt share memories of Christmases past. Of course, we will be making new memories as well – with six grandkids under 8 years old, that won't be hard.

Here's wishing you and your family a Blessed Christmas filled with new memories and a prosperous and Happy New Year!