It’s a wonderful thing
by Terry Camsey, Major –
Nostalgia, I am talking about. The warm fuzzy we get when walking (backwards, always) down memory lane.
The older I get, the more I see memory as a most glorious gift of God…the ability to relive joyous events, even when the original setting or participants are no longer around.
The flip side of getting older, however, is the increasing tendency to have “senior moments,” when even the most recent events can slip from your mind.
Let me make a confession, since it is, they say, good for the soul. I have a great memory for faces and, if I can place it in the same context that last I saw it, I can remember the name of its owner. But, on occasion, seeing that same face in a different context––perhaps as simple as seeing its owner dressed differently (out of uniform, for example, when I usually see its owner in uniform), causes me difficulty in putting a name on that face.
I recall once ––and very fondly––when the family was out shopping when my kids were younger, I suggested we go to “Toys to Go,” that well-known place to buy toys. As one, both kids and wife responded, “Great, then we’ll go to “Wallpapers R Us!”
(I should explain to readers in parts where neither store is known, that the real names of the shops are “Toys R Us” and “Wallpapers to Go”! A simple juxtaposition and a mistake anyone could make––couldn’t they? But one that is now an endearing and frequently referred to memory in my family.)
But, as yet another Christmas season approaches, I can’t help wondering what memories we are creating that will be viewed fondly by the young people of today, when they look back in future years.
As I was growing up, most of the carols played by Salvation Army bands and sung by songster brigades on the streets during the early evenings after work, were Christian compositions telling of the various aspects surrounding the birth of Christ. Classics they were, and still are in my book––often moving to perform and working their mysterious nostalgia on many who had not been to church in a long, long time.
I don’t recall many secular songs about Christmas…I do remember Bing Crosby and “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” plus a few others. But, by and large, there was a great holy feeling and sense of peace that took possession of my soul as I played my cornet in worship to him––he who had given me the gift to hone.
But, today it seems that most of the songs are secular and that some of those old classics that I loved (and love) are hardly known, if at all, by the average Joe. And I heard today about a rap song about a snowman where the implication has undertones about drugs…that T-shirts with that snowman are the best-selling T-shirt across the country. Apparently many parents are not aware of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to keep them in ignorance of a subliminal message to their kids.
What kind of memory will that leave as those kids look back years from now? Will it be a fond, nostalgic memory, or remembrance of when a nightmare started? Will there be kids without any memory left to even look back at all?
Jesus wept––and so should we, as we see the deterioration of dissemination of the message of hope, during a season that celebrates the coming of hope to each lost person.
Will we play slick, relatively modern, Christmas songs to get more money in our kettles…or will we use the opportunity to spread that message of hope that underlies the reason for our very existence?
“Thanks for the memory…” I hope we shall all be able to say that as, in years to come, we look back on this Christmas.