I am sitting here thinking as Christmas day draws nigh, the power of memories of Christmas past that bring me comfort as I am away from family and my children this year. Christmas is my favorite holiday of the season. When I was married and the children were little, our home was filled with decorations, the tree, an advent calendar, and traditions.
Year after year, the children waited for Santa to arrive. We usually had a special Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. If we went out, we would choose a restaurant with non-traditional Christmas food to offset all the holiday feast we had already been consuming. It also allowed me to introduce the kids to international fare.
Christmas morning , the children would be up early and have to wait for me to wake up to pass out Santa’s presents. Evidence that Santa had eaten the cookies and drank the milk left for him had already been established. Those moments were so wonderful passing out each gift to each child and watching their faces light up.
Christmas breakfast was usually handled by me , while their mother did the dinner later on in the day, unless we were visiting relatives.
Christmases even further back to my own childhood, brings back memories growing up in a Catholic home, We went to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. My brother, David, sang “Oh Holy Night” as a solo every year. My mother was involved either with the choir or the Eucharistic Ministry. After mass, we head home and open presents.
During the day we visited grandparents and relatives.
One of the pre-Christmas activities I loved was attending my Grandmother Charo’s Nobenas ( Novenas), where a Belen ( nativity set built on moss) is displayed. She will have prayers and scripture readings around the birth of Christ. There would be Christmas hymns sung. This would be all at her home. Afterwards, treats, usually homemade would be served.
I have been so fortunate to have a loving family. Every time we gather we enjoy each other’s company.
While circumstances preclude me being with them this year, memories sustain me and the knowledge that love is not bound by miles warms my heart.
My feelings are especially tender for my four children and two grandchildren. They are grown but their presence in my life has in many ways define a large part of it. I especially miss them. Going through all the photos of them helps to ease the yearning for their presence. When it comes to life, it is your loved ones that truly make it rich and fulfilling.
Christmas is family. It is home. It dwells in the heart.
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