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Monday, December 21, 2015

December 20th, 2015: The Duality of Christmas

     For me, Christmas time brings back the fondest of memories of the bright lights of a Christmas tree, the glowing embers of a fire, stockings hung on the mantle, and sharing warm cocoa with family and friends. Despite my personal preference for warm weather (I AM a Texan, after all, even if I do live in Kentucky), I can even find magic in a soft blanketing snowfall on Christmas Eve.
     My thoughts go back to Grandma Burton's perfectly roasted Thanksgiving turkey and later the sweet glazed Christmas ham. Jellied cranberries, sweet potatoes, southern cornbread dressing with gravy made from scratch, and more desserts than you could find down at the local bakery. Grandma used to always fix my favorite chocolate pie. My grandparents had owned a restaurant, and they knew how to cook!
     While the finishing touches were being put to the meal, Granddaddy Burton, Uncles Bobby and Bobby Joe, Dad and us kids would watch the parade on TV, with all of its color and excitement. Bands dressed in the finest uniforms would play an amazing assortment of music while floats and balloons passed by, each more spectacular than the previous one.
     Mom and Aunt Gayle were there, helping in the kitchen and I would be dragged away from the TV by the incredible aromas drawing me to the kitchen. My sisters Kathy and Renee were there, as were cousins Ricky and Debbie. "Moms" and Daddy Jack would come for the meal, and it made for a wonderful time. We were a family, and being together was so precious. We did not know how wonderful those moments were back then.
     After the most amazing meal, we would watch sports, and then pass out gifts. As the day came to an end, we would help clean up and sit around the table playing cards.
     Time passes and things change. All things are subject to change. As the years went by, there were more empty places at the table, and familiar faces that could not be found. They say you can't go home again, and it really is true. Oh, I could get in my car and drive back to the places where those memories were formed, but so much would be different that it would no longer represent the heart of the family.
     Some people will not spend Christmas with their loved ones. Perhaps they've moved away and can no longer make the trip home. Maybe, time or illness have taken a loved one away and they have moved on to a higher realm. It could be that some have taken up arms and bravely chosen to serve our country in foreign lands. It's sad to say that sometimes, we have just lost touch with those we loved so much.
     Take the time this season to renew in your heart the commitment to the One whose birth we celebrate now, and while you're at it, spend some time remembering the ones who passed through your life and gave you such joy and peace. Life is far to short to spend even a moment in anger. That Baby in the manger came to show us the great Love that Our Father has for us so honor Him by sharing that love with someone else. 

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