I guess my favorite Christmas was the last Christmas that my mother was alive. All of our family gathered and everybody was in great health and in great spirits! I did not know it was to be my last Christmas with my mother. And looking back on it; that makes it all the more special.
All of the Traditions she had established during my life as a child we’re still in place and everyone gathered out of respect to her and my father. It was a wonderful, festive and beautiful holiday celebration; in the home my father had made in his retirement and shared with his wife, my mother, Mary Louise Carter. Only, she didn’t like to be called Mary and only went by Louise.
My mother was the source of my heart and passion. I thought it would kill me when my mother died. I literally now know where the phrase came from: “a motherless child.” Because that’s what I felt like after she left. I hid in my room and cried for two weeks. But the last Christmas with my mother was super special and I will never forget it. It will always remain in my mind and heart as a glorious Christmas!
Another one of my favorite Christmases was the year after Mama died. Yes it was bittersweet. And we all had the loss of my mother on our minds. But the whole family gathered around my father and we still made that Christmas a wonderful, special time. I guess we did it for my father but everyone had their heart into it, and the joy of people trying to strengthen and encourage each other, after our deep loss was a truly inspiring experience.
I had read somewhere of a family that did a silly hat contest for Christmas. So with great vim and vigor I contacted everyone, in the family and convinced them we should have a silly hat contest for Christmas. It was agreed that nobody could tell each other what they were making and wearing. But it would be a surprise, when we gathered for our Christmas Eve celebration.
Everybody was a good sport. Everybody made their own silly hat. I’ll never forget that I took old man’s brimmed business hat and turned it into a invention with feathers and tinsel and the American flag. It was a crazy looking thing. But my sister Detra, whom was still alive at that time, outdid us all with a flamboyant, beautiful Masterpiece of a hat. It looked like something a peacock would be proud to wear. And my brother John Jr. was the artist and his was the most outlandish and provocative but then again that so fit my brother’s skillset and mindset.
Everybody came together with a little heaviness in their hearts and yet still celebrated the wonderful possibilities of Hope & Joy in Christmas, Even though it would never really be the same. Everyone trying to come together with such true love and family spirit was a very special and meaningful thing.
So I guess for those of us that have a few years under our belts, there must be glad, sad & some bittersweet Christmases in our minds. Take a few moments to think back on some of yours and let the living lessons of those former Seasons be a shining star in your mind and heart. Cherish how God sustained and kept you through Seasons past! I do this myself & it means a lot.
This is a different 🎄 Christmas , for more reasons than I can say. But for some of those reasons reflecting the hardships of 2019, it’s the first Christmas that I have not gotten together with family, at Christmas. I’m hunting in SC the last 9 days of the year in a row. (I am an Outdoorsman) and nature always lifts me up, so it seems fitting.
But my wife will drive down to Hilton Head tomorrow and I will go over to meet her on Christmas Day and celebrate with my oldest stepson and his wife and our only grandchild, Jaxson. So that might make it seem a little more traditional.
But even in this somewhat unusual, unconventional way celebrate the holidays, I am happy. I have a deeper relationship with Christ than ever before . And knowing the Christ of Christmas makes it a special and beautiful time. I just called my wife Dawn and she’s taking her 95, seem to be 96 year-old mother and one of her other sons who has had some challenges this year, around to see Christmas lights and Christmas Eve celebrations; in our little community of Thomasville North Carolina.
She’s having a good time and so am I. And we will see each other tomorrow. And even though the miles separate us this evening, our hearts are still one in the Saviour we serve. Yet, it is truly a very different Christmas for both of us.
She normally has an enormous Christmas Feast for the entire family and has our home decorated in gorgeous ways. But she scaled all that back this year and we didn’t have the normal, family feast. So it’s a very different kind of Christmas, than usual. But still I feel like it’s what it’s supposed to be.
And so I write you my friends, as I reflect upon the Christmases past and think of the lessons learned, values shared and truths taught. Therefore, I reach out to you to share how the memories of Christmases past can be a big part of the lessons and joys of Christmas present.
So whatever this Christmas holds or doesn’t hold, for you this year. May you feel the warmth, joy and peace that Christ can give. That way, the joy of the best Christmases you’ve ever had: can live in your heart each and every day, all year round! And then, Christmas can become a condition of heart always, instead of just a certain day of the year. I wish this fulfilment, for you my friends.
With much love,
“Slam”- Timothy Grant Carter