My mother-in-law loved Christmas. She shopped all year for presents and if one looked, one could find wrapped gifts stashed in the corner of every closet in her house, even in July.
All during the month of December, she baked the best cookies I have ever tasted. Her house was decorated with an entire winter wonderland village. And she relished fixing Christmas dinner for the whole family.
I think she enjoyed Christmas almost as much as her grandchildren did. She has been gone for fifteen years and I miss her most at Christmas.
She made this nativity for us in a ceramics class one year early in our marriage. It has been a part of our Christmas every year since. Some years we set it up on a table and some years it is nestled under the tree.
As soon as her first grandchild was born, Mom began making or buying ornaments . Our tree is covered with these handmade gems loaded with memories.
Now that our girls are starting their own families and Christmas traditions, I plan to pass the ornaments on to them. Perhaps a bit of 'Nana' and her child-like joy of celebrating Christmas will get passed along to her great grandsons.
One year, she gave us a table sized carousel as a Christmas gift. With the flip of a switch, it turned, lights flashed and it played about 10 different Christmas songs. My children were teenagers when she gave it to us and so neither I nor they were especially impressed with it at the time.
It wasn't until MY first grandchild stared at it with wondrous eyes, that I began to appreciate it. And every year since then, I have whispered a thank you to my mother-in-law for this wonderful gift, the gift of seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child.
This Christmas, I have a new grandson, a wide-eyed five month old boy. My mother-in-law would be delighted to know that he is named after her son, my husband. How she would have loved to watch him stare at the carousel and the lights and then hear him squeal with delight!
We celebrate Christmas to recall the moment when God came to be with us, indeed, becoming one of us. Perhaps the only way we can ever approach such an extraordinary happening, is with the innocent wide-eyed stare of a child. And once the wonder of it dawns on us, we, too, can squeal with delight!!