Unless you live under a rock you know that Christmas is Thursday. Christmas had to be my favorite holiday when I was a kid. I know, most of you are thinking that it was my favorite holiday because I got to open presents. (I was a kid and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I didn’t enjoy opening presents). However, my favorite part of Christmas had to do with being with family. Since I got married, there really hasn’t been many opportunities for me to celebrate this special time of the year with my family (sure I have my wife and kids, we are always together), but I haven’t been “home” for Christmas much since I got married. In fact, in the 12 years that I have been married, I have only spent 2 Christmas’ at my mom and dad’s. What pains me more is knowing that I have missed out on some great family traditions. My mom’s family still gathers every year to celebrate the holiday. And have only been there once in the last 12 years. It was like walking into a strange home. This is so odd to me, because perhaps my favorite holiday traditions were spent with that part of my family. My Uncle Mark, my mom’s brother, would “kidnap” all of us kids and we would work on putting on a Christmas pageant our parents and Grammie and Papa. As a kid we loved it. As we become teenagers, the love died out, but looking back on it now and we were thrilled to be a part of it. Uncle Mark rarely used actual Christmas songs. He usually used a familiar melody and changed the lyrics up to have fun with the family. As kids we were always cracking up. (To be honest I think we were laughing too hard to say these silly things about our parents to actually speak coherently enough for them to get the joke). But they were great times. Last time I was home for Christmas, I got to watch some of the old videos. So did my kids. They watched as their dad made a fool of himself. Right along with his cousins and siblings. They laughed. I laughed as they laughed.
To me, this is what Christmas is about. Spending time with people you love. Laughing with them when you have the time. Because, the truth is you won’t always have that chance. In the 12 years since I got married, my other grandmother and grandfather have passed away. The family traditions on Dad’s side of the family have died. It breaks my heart. I can’t share that with my kids. Sure, I can share stories, but stories aren’t the same thing as experiencing it. I encourage you to make this year something special for your family. Laugh with your family. Play with your kids. Cherish all of these precious moments.