Carrying on the Traditions

Photo: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... #mostwonderfultime

We sat by the light of the Christmas tree and started reading. I had stumbled upon the book earlier in the day and knew my kids would love it.

But I didn’t really think about the memories that would come to mind as I read.

I remember hearing the same story (although a shorter version) read by my Daddy so many years ago. I can still hear his laughter and see the twinkle in his eyes. I can picture the bedroom~ the dresser with the ceramic green piggy bank, the cedar chest at the end of the bed, the round rug that we would kneel on to pray, the odd quilt with the monkeys swinging on it. I can see my sisters, all three of us captivated by the story as my Daddy read it.

And here I was, all of these year later, reading the same story to my kids. Hearing them laugh at all of the same places. Knowing that they were as wrapped up in the story as I once was. Truth be told, I am still captivated by this story.

I have been given a legacy that is not easily forgotten. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year for me.

But this will be the first year that I will not be able to call my Daddy and tell him I love him and to wish him a Merry Christmas.

There is some sadness in this, of course. But mostly, there is joy as I recall memories that are so vivid, so precious. My Daddy and my Mama made Christmas a truly magical time. We didn’t live close to any family, so we had our own traditions. Searching for our Christmas tree. Decorating the tree (one year with popcorn strings- our dog LOVED that year!). Eating buttermilk cookies. The candlelight service on Christmas Eve. The anticipation on Christmas morning to see the presents under the tree. Having to wait for Daddy to make his coffee. Daddy reading the Christmas story from Luke 2. Unwrapping presents, one person at a time.

It should come as no surprise that I do the same things with my kids. We have a few of our own traditions mixed in (okay, maybe more than a few!), but so much of what we do is based on the way I grew up.

There is an empty spot in my heart this year. And yet, at the same time, it is full. Full of treasured memories that continue to impact my life.

I am pretty sure that when my Daddy read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever to his three little girls, he had no idea how precious this memory would be. And now, I get to carry on the tradition!

What Christmas traditions are you continuing with your children?

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