Christmas Past

Christmas Eve is here, the turkey is in the oven, the dressing started, to be fair, part of it was started a couple of days ago. I sit quietly with my coffee, reflecting, it’s the day for that. It started last night with a dream of Christmas at my parents house.

We all have those memories, the ones that are so warm and inviting that you almost feel as if time travel is a real possibility. Sam Beckett style, so you can really appreciate the experience.

I remember my mom waking up at 4am to put the turkey in, the sounds coming from the kitchen are comforting. When I wake again it is to the aroma of turkey cooking, bread rising and pancakes.

There was always pancakes on Christmas, with bacon and real hot cocoa.

Then everyone would come to the house, my nephews and niece, brothers and sister and their spouses. The laughter was the best sound in the world. My dad had this booming laugh, that would not only fill the house but one’s soul as well. He was always so joyful, that joy was contagious. He was a gregarious man who loved life and loved God. What a combination, he and my mom lived a life that was a true testament to how Christians should behave. Never judgmental (except for my music) always loving, generous and warm. Christmas always amplified those qualities.

When it came time for lunch, yes we had Christmas lunch, my dad would ask one of my brothers to say the blessing.

It was always Jesse, the youngest, I will be honest, I never noticed until my oldest brothers son brought it to my attention.

He said it really hurt his dad that my dad never chose him. So, on that last Christmas that we all spent together, we didn’t know it would be our last at the time, I was with my mom in the kitchen. I started talking about how much I loved our Christmas traditions and then I said did you ever notice dad doesn’t ask Jim to say the blessing? It’s always Jesse, I wonder if Jim would like to say it. Then I just left it there.

At lunch that day my dad asked Jim to say the blessing, Jim looked startled and his eyes got a little teary, darn Oklahoma dust. Then he said the prayer and it was beautiful. Later my nephew told me how much that meant to Jim.

I hope when my children look back at our Christmas times together, they do it with as much fondness as I have for my memories with my parents.

I don’t remember the presents, well, one I do, my cowboy boots that I wanted so badly. I kept them forever, until they literally fell apart. Urban Cowboy, anyone.

I remember the love, the warmth, the laughter and the wonderful dressing. There I said it, dressing, not stuffing, to this day I still make my mom’s dressing. I don’t deviate, I don’t add, take away, or anything else. With every bite I take of that dressing I am back in Owasso, Oklahoma, I can hear my dad’s laughter and see the twinkle in my mom’s eyes. I feel love.

I pray everyone has be the best Christmas ever and experiences the promises of what is to come.

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