Memories of a Wartime Christmas - by Sharon’s British Mum

Note from Sharon: My lovely mother wrote this beautiful memory for her church's newsletter this Christmas. When I saw it, especially the last lines, my eyes filled with glad tears, and I knew I needed to share it with all of you.

Merry Christmas, dear ones!

... Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. —Isaiah 9:6c NIV

My memories go back to around 1940, when I was six years old. The first sign of Christmas coming was my mother saving enough coupons in her ration book to buy ingredients for the traditional English fruit cake, rich with various fruits and a thick fancy frosting.

Then we would prepare for the annual journey to visit my Grandmother. With no car, this meant going by bus to the train station, a train ride of several hours, then another bus to get to our destination. My father would follow a few days later when he got out of work on Christmas Eve.

Picture my mother traveling this journey with my brother and me, all our luggage for a week, all the presents we were bringing, gas masks slung over our shoulders (required by law), and she also trying to balance that all-important cake and keep it right side up!

We children thought it was all very exciting, but, looking back, I don’t remember how we managed all that stuff from bus to train to bus! Always hoping there would be no air raids along the way!

Finally, the last bus stopped, right opposite the house. We got out with all our stuff and hurried in the darkness to the front door. I can still picture my Grandmother standing at the door, framed by the light from the house, with her wonderful smile of welcome. It is a special memory for me.

On Christmas Eve, my father arrived, and we all walked a mile to the Church for midnight Communion. I remember walking back in the dark, crisp and cold, filled with excitement for what was to happen the next day.

And, of course, it was wonderful. The tree, the presents, the big dinner, and finally an English tradition: the Christmas pudding came in with brandy poured over it and set on fire, so it was flaming as it arrived on the table. This was an exciting highlight for us children!

I don’t think we had air raids on Christmas Day, but I remember one, I think the next day, and we all dashed down to the basement. But we were so used to air raids, it was just “another one,” and I don’t think we lost any of the spirit of Christmas, just chatted until the siren sounded the all-clear. Nothing could stop our joy at being together as a family.

But my best memory will always be seeing my grandmother in the lighted doorway, her happiness and her welcome and our incredible excitement after the long journey.

Our lives are like a journey, traveling on our way, with good times and dark times, but traveling on toward our destination. And some day, we will see our Savior standing in the light of Heaven waiting to welcome us home to live with Him in His eternal light forever. “Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world’” (John 8:12b NIV).

Dear Father, how we thank You, that because of the birth we are about to celebrate, we have an everlasting home with You. Thank You for peace in our land right now. Thank You for all the gifts You have given us, often taken for granted. Help us this Christmas to treasure the wonderful gift of Your Son and the welcome that awaits us in Heaven some day. Come, Lord Jesus, come! Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

 

 

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4 Responses to “Memories of a Wartime Christmas - by Sharon’s British Mum”

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  1. Jacalyn J Thayer says:

    A beautiful story! I could imagine the trip.
    Love all of your stories.
    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    God Blessings
    Jackie

  2. Deneane Bentum says:

    In these quieter, less busy days after all the family has dispersed, I'm catching up with reading things I'd missed. This brought tears (of joy!) to my eyes as I picture Jesus welcoming us in the light of the doorway!

    Much love and thanks to you and your British Mum!

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