A room called Remember

Published 6:46 pm Wednesday, December 18, 2013

by Dent Davis, Tryon Presbyterian Church

The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is past; Christmas is just around the corner, and the New Year just beyond.

One of the blessings and curses of the holiday season is memory.

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A part of the craziness of the holidays is that the season nurtures both memory and forgetfulness.

In the busyness of the season it is easy to forget important people, priorities and opportunities. It is also easy to forget parts of our own story, and lose contact with the real spirit and soul of the season.

Sometimes though, we do remember. Remembering can be both painful and joyful. Some memories just appear, arriving like an unexpected telephone call in the night, bringing smiles and tears, surprise and anxiety.

Memories contain clues about where we have come from.

They help us sift through the things we have done, or failed to do. Some memories bring peace, and others stir us up.

The Christmas season is a time when memories often emerge.

Frederick Buechner writes that we all have a room deep inside us “where the past lives on as a part of the present, where the dead are alive again, where we are most alive ourselves to turnings and to where our journeys have brought us.”

He calls it “a room called remember.”

In his book by that name, Buechner writes that we all have a need from time to time “to enter that still room” and remember “with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart the lives we have lived.”

Our faith teaches that God is often a part of the process of remembering.

During the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples to break the bread and share the cup remembering him, “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). And the week that followed that last supper would prove just how difficult and painful some memories can be.

The holidays offer opportunity for us to remember, to explore our own stories again, as we remember the great story of how God came into our world at the birth of Jesus.

All memories are potentially holy places where God meets us, as he once met a young and struggling Jewish couple many centuries ago. God led them to a stable in Bethlehem and a new life they never imagined. No wonder Luke can tell us that “Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

God still meets us today. And sometimes that happens in “a room called remember.”

May the blessings of memory be yours this holiday season.