Christmas candy

Published 11:21 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I think most of us at one time or another have reminisced about the good old days. Many years ago, my coworker, Christine, and I were having one of those moments sharing Christmas stories of our youth.

The simplest things can awaken precious memories — the smell of evergreen, a turkey baking in the oven or the taste of a special candy, like the candy my mother always placed in my stocking.

After her death, I was unable to find that candy anywhere. I told Christine that, with all the decorations, family dinners and presents — Christmas just wasn’t the same without that candy. She asked me to describe it, and I did.

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Weeks later, at our company Christmas party, I opened a beautifully wrapped package from Christine. Inside was the chocolate candy I had missed for all those years. “Where did you find that candy?” I shouted. “I didn’t,” she replied. “It’s homemade.”

Every Christmas for the next 20 years or so, she made me a full tin of candy. That made each Christmas complete.

What is the true meaning of Christmas, and is its spirit alive or dead? The meaning is in its name, “Christ Mass,” which celebrates and worships God’s gift to mankind, his son, Jesus Christ, our savior.

That spirit continues to thrive. Just look around our community, and you’ll see evidence. Neighbors helping one another after the tornado, a child adopted by loving young parents, a new home built for the homeless — and a tin full of homemade candy for a friend.

My friend, Christine Rawls, was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 1999.

The following Christmas Eve, there was a knock on my door. It was my neighbor, Ed, a tall, big man with a deep, resounding voice. “Merry Christmas, David,” he said, and with both hands he pushed a package into my hands.

“It’s your Christmas candy,” he said. “I made it myself.”

Ed, of course, is Christine’s widower. He has made my Christmas candy for the last nine years. That is the true spirit of Christmas.