anne mikolay 2012 120Every year I struggle with Christmas madness...the rushing about, the commercialism, the hypocrisy of good will toward men in an often cruel, heartless world, but every year the good Lord finds some way to emphasize the true meaning of the season and remind me of the better things in life. This year, He used a Little Golden Book.

Long before Little Golden Books became collectible, I was well familiar with The Poky Little Puppy, Scuffy the Tugboat, The Little Red Hen, The Little Red Caboose, and so many more, and spent many a blissful afternoon listening to my mom read while I looked at the colorful pictures. Imagine my delight a few days ago when my sister gave me a book, Everything I Need to Know About Christmas, I Learned From a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow, published by Golden Books, which I happily read, comforted by memories of days gone by. 

Diane Muldrow's book begins: “Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and all, but...there's so much to do.” Adults know this is absolutely true, and while we scramble to accomplish everything on our to-do lists, children have little else to do other than anticipate the big day and revel in the special preparations. As a child, I could not wait to put up the Christmas tree, which my mother allowed my sister and me to decorate by ourselves. In the fashion of the day, Mom used real tinsel and bold lights, and decorated the house with wax candles in the form of snowmen or carolers, glittering Putz miniature houses arranged on fake snow, and plastic ivy and fabric poinsettia. On Christmas Eve, my dad herded us into the car to tour the neighborhood homes aglow with Christmas lights. Afterward, I played Christmas albums on my portable RCA record player and made ornaments out of felt, beads, and Elmer's glue, all the while wondering where Santa was and never doubting that reindeer could fly.

Muldrow's book continues: “Christmas is about keeping it simple. It's a time for children, a time of wonder, a time like no other time of year, announced with the call of the trumpet...and the pealing of bells. A time for giving the very best of yourself...a time to reach out to someone who'd otherwise be alone...and a time for blessings on all of us, every one.” This sentiment, learned years ago from a loving woman reading me a Little Golden Book, I continue to hold dear, but it's the book's closing sentences that reveal the true meaning of Christmas: “...take some time to be still...on a night quieted by snow, and remember another night...when joy came. One night in a manger, a night witnessed by both shepherds and kings, when gifts were given to a waiting world...the gift of love for all people, and the gift of hope for a peaceable kingdom.”

May you be blessed this Christmas with love, hope, and peace. And may your coming year be as sweet, simple, and memorable as a Little Golden Book.