A Charcuterie Christmas and Other Things My Mom Taught Me

Those who know me well, know how much I love Christmas. I have since I was as small child. My mom made Christmas special, though we did not have a lot in my early years. She created wonderful traditions for my brother and I. Dad decorated the tree and strung the lights. Mom would always put our old Nativity scene in a place of prominence. It was covered with Spanish moss and probably was not expensive. But I loved it.

              Mom baked cookies, made fudge, cornflake candy, and my brother and I’s favorite, Pumpkin Bars. Dad would hang a huge seasons greeting sign out front and would let Chris and I climb the railing to hang the big bulbs…you know like they use on the tree in “A Christmas Story”. Each Christmas Eve, Mom would make a tray of summer sausage…which we only ate in the winter, crackers and cheese and cookies. She always made a homemade punch. Basically, my Mom used a Charcuterie Board before it was cool. This annual celebration was shared with just the four of us.

              At that time my Mom’s parents were still living, so we traveled the hour to their house Christmas morning. I always connect Christmas to night time. Dad would read the Christmas story from Luke and they would let us open our presents that evening. We never believed in Santa. Our parents always wanted us to understand Christmas with the birth of Christ, not a fat guy in a red suit.

              This year marks the ninth Christmas since Mom received her eternal reward. Christmas in our home starts early. There is a nostalgia that I think most of us hold with Christmas. It always reminds me of my childhood. I am always amazed and thankful that each year I realize anew the impact of Immanuel…God with us. It is like a resetting of attitudes, cares, and trials in this life. We understand again what is truly important. First and foremost, our relationship with Jesus. Second, connection to family and friends. Third, remembering that as tough as our life might be, there are others that are far worse. We pray for them and count our blessings.

              Christmas is a time to reflect. To fall in love with Jesus all over again. Most years I study the book of Luke, what the Christmas star might have been, the arguments for the actual date of Christ birth, as well as who the Magi were. All of these things bring me continually back to the Light of the World. Isaiah the prophet said, “those who walk in darkness will see a great light”. Jesus is that light.

              Seeing stars in the heaven remind me of Christ’s birth. Lights on a tree remind me of Christ’s birth. Lighting the Christmas candle that was my mother’s reminds me of Christ’s birth. Snow, cookies, presents, family, songs, it all reminds me of Jesus. Why, because each year I fall in love with my Savior more than the year before. Maybe it’s a function of age. Or maybe it is a function of spiritual maturity. Whatever it is I am reminded again in the midst of COVID 2020, that Jesus is still the light of the world.

              In one of the most profound actions in world history, God Himself came down. He did so to accomplish the most profound action in history, to die for me. To die for you. See I was raised in a Christian home. My parents taught us the Bible from a very young age. But at some point it had to stop being the faith of Mom and Dad and start being mine. So, here I am 43 years of age. One of my own kids is grown and three are close behind. Jenna and I stand as blessed because each of our four kids has made this faith their own too.

              If the Lord’s return is still far in the future, I too will pass from this life. My kids will pass to the next generation our love of Christmas. Perhaps also the tradition of listening to Christmas music Nov 1st, putting up four full size tress in our home, as well as making my Mom’s best Christmas treats. Maybe just maybe one of my kids will still have the Christmas tea light holder that was my Mom’s. As they light that candle, may Jesus the Light of the World shine on them. May the faith of generations burn just as bright as it does in me.

              Maybe you are not from a Christian home. I implore you, build Christmas traditions with your kids and grandkids. I promise you, no matter how far they roam on earth or from the Lord, they will always remember at Christmas. May you be truly blessed with health, joy, and Jesus this season!

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