Memories of Christmas past always flood my head for obvious reasons this time of year; driving by the array of Christmas lights these past few weeks always leaves me thinking of my Grandpa and his Star of David.
I should say at this point that I come from a long line of gentiles; there is no one even remotely close to being even kind of sort of Jewish even by marriage.
Grandpa was never the religious type; Grandma was a church organist, and a pretty well known one at that, but Grandpa rarely attended services to see her play. That’s not to say he wasn’t spiritual, but Sunday’s for him meant spending time in the garage, smoking a pipe, and listening to the radio—I suppose there was actually something religious about his devotion to this routine, but it had little to do with a higher power.
How the star came about, I am not sure; I’m not even sure he knew what the star symbolized. What I know is one Christmas he decided the house should have one, and so off he went to the garage to build it. When he finished, he came hither from his garage carrying a wooden five foot tall Star of David, wrapped in foil, and decorated in Christmas lights most likely found in the neighbors trash the Christmas before.
He carried it proudly to the front of the house, and climbed to the top of the house to hang his beloved star at the homes tallest peak.
As Grandpa aged, and diabetes overtook his body, he started losing chunks of his foot on regular bases; he was barely capable of walking, let alone climbing a ladder and wandering around the rough. And yet he did—too proud to ask for help, and too stubborn to accept help when it was offered.
Neighbors would question him about the star; most wrongly assumed he was Jewish; mostly he ignored them—refusing to explain his motives for hanging this star, and why it was so important for him to hang it every year.
I wish I could say that I have a happy ending for all of this, but I’m afraid it’s all anti-climatic, as he died years ago never really explaining why he loved the star so much. I’d like to believe that it was symbolic for him—that it was his way of telling everyone the true meaning of Christmas; I’d like to believe that, but ultimately I think it had more to do with irritating someone than being symbolic.
Whatever his motives, I’ll always have the memory; as Christmas passes, and people who used to be around for Christmas are gone, memories are all we have—Grandpa left me one that I’ll never forget; his motives were likely not sincere, but it doesn’t matter because I still have it.
This is my last post before Christmas, and likely the last of the year; I wish all of you readers out there a Merry Christmas with your family; as you sit around the table of fellowship with all those you love (or are supposed to love), cherish those memories, because one day that’s all you will have.
Share the gift of love!