4th Day Christmas Past & Story

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Christmas Past 2014, Uncategorized | 10 comments

4th-Christmas-Past-Logo-webOn the 4th Day of Christmas Past, open a treasure chest of memories!
Question: What glimpse of happy Christmas memories did David O. McKay send to his brother?

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Memories of Childhood Christmases

Christmas on a winter’s day in 1938, President McKay second counselor to George Albert Smith returned to the old family home of his youth in Huntsville Utah.  Iit had been unoccupied for some time and he was there to check on the place. As he puttered about the house with its familiar trappings, he began to muse on the innocent laughter and excited merriment of the children and their friends at Christmas seasons of long ago. Moved by his impressions of the moment, he wrote a special letter of endearment dated December 12 to his brother Thomas E McKay who was then presiding over the Swiss Mission.

“My Dear Brother and Playmate Thomas E,

I went to Huntsville the other day and visited the old home.  It was a typical wintery day so you can easily imagine how cold the rooms were in which no fires were burning and in which none had been for weeks.  The house was just like a large refrigerator.  There were a few things which I wanted to do so I threw your old coonskin coat over my shoulders and soon felt warm and comfortable.  For a few moments I strolled leisurely from room to room and being in a reminiscent mood I let my mind wander at will down the lanes of memory. I saw ”Tommy” and “Dadie” [Thomas E and David] go up stairs to bed, and felt the tender touch of the dearest, sweetest mother that ever lived as she tenderly tucked the bedclothes around her two roguish boys and gave them goodnight kisses.

Again it was Christmas Eve. Our stockings having been hung where Santa couldn’t help but see them, we lay half expecting to hear the jingle of the sleigh bells announcing the approach of good old st nick to the chimney top – sleep came tardily, but finally the sandman succeed in
closing our eyes.

Christmas morning.  I can see those boys creeping down the stairs before daybreak – no electric switch to press and flood the room with light; no flashlight at hand.  They didn’t even light the old kerosene lamp. Step by step they groped their way in the dark, and sought the nail (or chair) on which each had hung respectively his empty stocking. Who can ever forget the thrill of that first touch of the stocking filled with Santa’s treasures! Apple in the toe, sticks of red and white candy protruding from the top, and trinkets and presents hidden in between! Perhaps a trumpet stuck out with the candies; but the drum and sled were standing near by.

The air in the room was cold even though the last embers in the kitchen were still smoldering- evidence if the boys had stopped to think that father and mother had sat up late enough to welcome St Nick to our house.

Soon the girls were awake also, and the lamp was lit – then the “oh’s” and the “ah’s,” and the medley of sounds of drums, jewsharp, harmonica, and music box!

As the sun came smiling over those snow-capped mountains, he turned the frost into diamonds that sparkled from the leafless trees and seemed to dance on the twelve-inch blanket of pure white snow. Then came the playmates with their merry cry “Christmas Gift.” In the afternoon the children’s dance! (One of those boys danced with a sweet little girl eleven successive times!) Oh the romance of childhood!

Chores – evening shadows, supper and bed, and another Christmas was gone. Why, to childhood, is Christmas Day so short and the next far away?

Christmas again, anticipated by the trip up South Fork to get our own Christmas tree from the hillside.  They were older then, those boys, but their stockings still were hung and good old Santa never failed to fill them…

Later came school and missions, yet still the tender ties that radiated from a devoted father and loving mother ever pulled us back to the Old Home, the dearest, sweetest spot on earth.
It is only an old country home, but no place was ever filled with truer love and devotion on the part of parents, brothers, and sisters, than those which pervaded the hearts of the loved ones in that family circle.

Hanging your coat in its accustomed place, I walked out of the front door; as the night-latch clicked, I thought it might have been the click of the lid of a treasure chest that held the wealth of memories that no money could buy.

Well, my brother and pal of youthful days, I just wanted you to share with me this glimpse of happy memories, and to say as the Yuletide now approaches, my heart is full of loving wishes to you, that you and yours may enjoy the happiest Christmas ever, and that the New Year may come laden with happiness and joy supreme.

Challenge:  Open your own treasure chest, holding a wealth of memories. Share it with someone else involved & see if they remember it too!

Taken from:  Larry C. Porter, “Remembering Christmas Past Presidents of the Church Celebrate the Birth of the Son of Man and Remember His Servant Joseph Smith”, p. 37-39. 

 

p. 37-39

    10 Comments

  1. the magic of the love, joy and happiness that brings a warmth to the heart beyond that of a fire. Memories that bring back the love of family

  2. President Mackay wrote to his brother about their dear home and fond memories of a loving, fun, yet simple Christmas of their youth. It reminded me a bit of Dickens Christmas Carol and the part of Christmas Past. Our memories can warm us and fill us with love.

  3. What wonderful memories President McKay sent to his brother Thomas. I could picture the children on Christmas eve and Christmas morning; the happiness and joy in their home; the love of the parents for the children; the satisfaction of being content with simple things. These feelings continued after they grew older. The experiences reminded me of my own childhood Christmases. So many good memories.

  4. He sent his brother a letter, reminiscing about Christmases past in their old family home. I brought back memories for me as well!

  5. He went to his childhood home that was vacant.While there, he remenissed about the childhood days of past.All the memories flooded his mind, and decided to write a sweet letter to his brother who was serving a mission.

  6. He reminded his brother of a shared Christmas past and of the great love that he shared with his brother and all the family. It was a reminder that the important things endure.

  7. WHAT GREATER MEMORIES CAN A CHILD OR ADULT HAVE OF CHRISTMASES OF LONG AGO. IT’S THOSE MEMORIES THAT MAKE THE SONG THERE IS BEAUTY ALL AROUND WHEN THERE’S LOVE AT HOME RING IN OUR EARS AND MAKE US LONG FOR THOSE LONG PASS CHRISTMAS DAYS TO NEVER END. BRO MCKAY GAVE HIS BROTHER A WONDERFUL REMINDER OF NOT ONLY WHAT HE LONGED FOR BUT EACH ONE OF US ALSO.

  8. Our hearts n minds can be the greatest treasure chest of memories of our past n the loving cherished memories that need to be opened every once in awhile. David o McKay had the best treasures of his brother that day and his family by opening up his heart.

  9. I LOVED THE STORY, HOW WONDERFUL TO FEEL THE LOVE THEY HAD FOR FAMILY AND HOME.

  10. David O McKay’s warm memories of Christmases past flooded his mind as he walked through his childhood home. As he wrote his brother about his experience, he wanted to relate to him some of his feelings. The deep love of parents, brothers, and sisters. The excitement, anticipation and fun they always had-especially at Christmas. The many blessings of their family. Memories are meant to shared. They bring you back to the warm feelings and sweet blessings of home and family.

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