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Christmas memories, and the reason for the season

Memories of Christmas in days gone by stir my emotions and warm my heart. 

I remember so well the smell of turkey roasting in the warm oven in our humble abode in Albuquerque. 

I remember the anticipation of opening presents that my mother so carefully chose based on a Christmas wish list I so willingly provided.  Sometimes they were even a surprise, (OK, true confessions — I did occasionally peek). 

I remember the joy of family time together.  We had a great time opening up presents with relatives a few days before the big day.  Then, on Christmas Eve, most of my family sang in the choir, so we often had to be at church from 6 p.m. until after midnight. The services were candlelit, so, coupled with the song “Silent Night,” it was so touching. We loved it.

 Somehow, we found time to light our own luminarias and then we’d go to see the beautiful display of these unusual lights at the Albuquerque Country Club or Old Town.  Our luminarias consisted of simple paper bags with a candle placed in sand at the bottom.  For dinner, we had posole and other Mexican food.  Everyone did — even us gringos!  Somehow, we fit in opening family presents on Christmas Eve, as well.

Christmas morning meant sleeping in and helping get dinner ready.  This is where the turkey came in.  My dad had to have turkey every holiday.  Mom made her huge, delicious Texan fruit salad, still a very popular dish in our family.  There were the usual trimmings, but Mom’s salad was the highlight.  I baked the pecan pies using my grandmother’s recipe.

But do you know what I loved most?  It was the love.  The family all wrapped together in love for one another.  Jesus was in our midst.  There wasn’t a lot of fanfare, but we loved our time together.

As a mom, I’ve created our own traditions, which are subject to change, as we often travel at Christmas.  But one thing remains the same: the love.  Unconditional love.   Just like the love God demonstrated when he sent His only son into the world to save us from our sins (from John 3:16). 

As we celebrate this special holiday, let’s not forget the traditions, the love and families.  Let’s not forget those less fortunate.  But, most important of all, let’s not forget the reason for this special season.

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