When my brothers and I were young, our Mom would make us Christmas Candles. It was a white taper that she marked with 24 horizontal evenly spaced lines. Each line had the accompanying dates 1-24 hand-painted next to it. Then she painted the bottom of the candle with festive Holly leaves and berries. The Christmas candles were lit and burned one space each night, building our anticipation for Christmas Day. We opened the tiny doors on our paper advent calendars in the morning before school and lit the candles at night.
These morning and evening reminders combined with the decorating of our home, rolling, cutting, decorating, and sharing Christmas cookies, etc., created a near hysteria of excitement by the time Christmas eve arrived. When the local news channel would track Santa leaving the North Pole, that was a cue that bedtime was near.
Mom loved Christmas. It was her favorite time of year. When we lost her, I was 20. It's been over 40 years since we had that last Christmas together. These memories are very precious; they always bring me joy.
For so many of us, this year has been one of missing our families, making sacrifices, enduring loss, staying home, and delaying family gatherings. I'm going to spend a lot of time remembering past holidays this year. I'm going to bask in the warmth of my childhood memories and the memories of Christmas with my children when they were young.
In a year like this one, our good memories are gifts that we can choose to open at any time. Memory is so powerful. For me, lighting a candle this year is honoring my memories. Mnemosyne is the ancient Greek goddess of memory and the sense of time that is woven into memory. She is the conservator of the treasured events of our past; as the mother of the muses, she can inspire our present through them.
Do not let our current troubles extinguish your joy. There will come a day when they, too, will be given over to Mnemosyne. Basking in the warmth of the holidays past and present renews our hope for the future. All that is good, true, and honest, all that is born of hope, love, and inspiration lives in our hearts, guarded by Mnemosyne for a lifetime.
May your happy, treasured memories be the spark that ignites your holiday spirit this year.