A lifetime of Oxford Christmas memories

Published 7:05 am Sunday, December 24, 2017

Soon, Oxford will flicker in candle light while friends and families gathered in churches gently sing Silent Night.

Grocery stores will close. Streets will become barren.

By midnight, barely a creature will be stirring. Strings of lights from the Square throughout the neighborhoods of Oxford will be just enough to keep our presence visible to the rare wanderer.

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It is a moment, like the joy that begins early the next morning when families gather around trees and dinner tables, that we can give thanks and proclaim, there’s no place like home.

It’s a gift, after all, having this quaint community as a bedrock, particularly at a time like this. Christmas anywhere is redeeming, but Christmas in Oxford has a certain glow.

Some of us learned that a long time ago, blessed with the peaceful, small-town reward that can’t help but shine when everything here gets quiet and still as a mouse.

My earliest Christmas memories in Oxford involve looking up at a tree in our home on University Avenue like it was 20 feet tall. It was probably nine or 10 feet high, but the smallness of a crouched child makes everything towering above seem bigger than life.

Every present was the best thing ever. Every bite was fragrant, with flavors like orange sprinkled in new places.

Not many years later etched in memories were the streets of Oxford. The still-quiet streets of Christmas morning that we youth owned to ramp and ride new bicycles or bounce new balls.

Later, when my children were small, Oxford continued delivering the goods of great Christmas, from the candlelight to the family around the table. We never once imagined wanting to be anywhere but here.

That’s because Oxford has long put family and faith first at Christmas.

Sure, we can get a little go-go during the fall and spring, when the college community races on adrenaline. But Christmas is our time, allowing for the thankfulness and celebration of family, friends, community, and the greatest gift of all.

But about the most go-go it gets on Christmas Day around here is when another child learns to ride a bike, or a flame flickers too close to somebody’s nylon sweater.

If this all sounds a bit overly-nostalgic, that’s a fair accusation. It’s just because we do have something special this time of year here and the recognition of such makes it even more worthwhile.

All gifts should be celebrated, of course.

So, here is to yet another Oxford Christmas. Here is to your family and mine, and all the friendships we share together.

We are blessed. And, we are thankful.

Merry Christmas.

David Magee is Publisher of The Oxford Eagle. He can be reached at david.magee@oxfordeagle.com.