Is there something you unpack at Christmastime that fills you with nostalgia for Christmases past? When you bring out the garland and ornaments and decorations, what takes you on a mental journey back through time?
For me, it’s Sunny the Bear.
Each year, Sunny instantly transports me to a Christmas years ago when I was newly pregnant. I had struggled with almost losing the baby. I had also opened a bank account and Sunny came with it, as a reward. My hope of delivering a healthy baby was somehow tied to Sunny. The furry bear was a tangible piece of that hope with a smile that never slipped, waiting patiently for a little playmate to arrive. I would look at Sunny, in his little blue-striped shirt, and wonder if our child would one day lay in the crib beside him.
The next summer our baby boy was born healthy and whole. We named him Matthew, “gift of God.” Sunny lived in Matthew’s room from the time we brought our son home. Eventually Sunny lost his shirt because he was a much-loved bear, and Matthew, our much-loved son, grew up.
Now, at Christmas, Sunny smiles from a row of plush animals accumulated during my children’s young years. Sunny reminds me of how thankful I am that my prayers all those Christmases ago for a healthy baby were answered yes.
It seems apt to remember that time of expectation and fear and hope, of longing for our gift-of-God son, during Christmas. At this season, we celebrate the birth of a baby boy who didn’t have a crib. He didn’t have a soft toy waiting to welcome him. His bed was a filled with scratchy straw. He shared his nursery with large, noisy animals. He was expected and hoped for, though. He was God’s gift to all of us.
How about you? What beloved object triggers a poignant Christmas memory?