(This is a blog I wrote last year and posted it on The Waking but never posted it here. I wrote it as I was reflecting upon all that God had done in and for my family through the years. I hope you enjoy reading it!)
The Holidays have felt a little more reflective and a little more special to me this year. Christmas is my very favorite holiday and this time of year is always special to me. I can be quite sentimental and a bit of a cheese ball when it comes to Christmas. I'm very big on tradition. I love decorating the tree with my mom and sister every year (we always get a really big tree), drinking hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music. Laugh at me all you want but I'm not afraid to admit that "Home For Christmas" by *Nsync will forever be my favorite Christmas cd lol. And I find great Christmas cheer by torturing my sister with it every year (insert evil laugh here) ;). I've always loved all this time of year brings and it's always meant a lot to me. But this year it's starting to mean a lot of new and different things to me as well.
Christmas this year has me thinking a lot about tradition, and even more than that, it has me thinking about legacy.
This year was the very first Thanksgiving that my family and I haven't spent at my grandma's house. My grandma is almost 90 years old, my dad and my aunts take turns caring for her. She hasn't been doing very good for some time now, but in these past few months it seems like it's been a pretty fast deterioration. And to be honest, in the back of my mind, I wonder if this is the last holiday season we'll share with her. The week of Thanksgiving my aunt was taking care of her. So this year, my parents, my sister Cecily, and I spent our first Thanksgiving at home. Don't get me wrong, we had a really good Thanksgiving. It just really got me thinking.
It got me thinking about the childhood holidays that seemed to be centered around my grandparents and the home they filled with so much love and good food. It made me remember the many Christmases my whole family would pile into my grandparents tiny kitchen, (which seemed to get smaller and smaller as we all gathered in. If any of my cousins are reading this, you know exactly what I'm talking about.) standing around the dinner table to pray over the meal we were about to share, thanking God for all the things he had done for us. God was at the center of everything. It made me reminisce about the loving hands of my grandparents who prepared most of the meal for us. I still remember like it was yesterday, my grandma in the kitchen on Christmas Eve making her dressing, (a special recipe passed down from her mother. My family is spoiled to this dressing.) my grandpa always right there next to her, helping her cook. They were good cooks. Everything always smelled so good...and tasted even better. It made me sad to think of that very same home that used to be filled with so much noise and laughter during the holidays, to now be sitting completely dark and empty.
I know that's life. Things change and move on. And Holidays that were once spent crammed into your grandparents house with your whole family fade away. ...But it's still a little sad.
I miss my grandparents. Even though my grandma is still here, she is of course, not the same as she used to be. She can't really hold conversations anymore, and I miss talking to her. In so many ways I feel like I've already lost her. I miss my grandpa, who passed away in June of 2005. He was such a sweet and gentle man who truly loved the Lord. I miss his sweet smile and his hugs.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the legacy they have left my family and I. I looked up to both of them. My parents, my sister, and I lived with them for the first 16 years of my life, so I was very privileged to get to see their day to day lives. They weren't perfect, but I can truly say that they loved and served God with all their hearts. My grandma was the prayer warrior of our family. Everyone would tell her what they needed prayer for and she would write the requests down in her notebook and pray for them each morning. My grandpa was a musician. He played the saxophone really well and would often play in church. His most played song being "When The Saints Go Marching In". It makes me smile now to think of how I would sometimes wake up to him practicing his saxophone at 7:00 in the morning. It was so loud, I would put my pillow over my head to try and drown out the noise and maybe go back to sleep....it never worked lol. Now I miss waking up to the smell of coffee and the loud but pretty sound of my grandpa's saxophone.
It's not only in the special details and good memories...it's so much more than even that. The legacy that they left me was being built before I was even born. You see, my grandpa was an alcoholic. Him and my grandma went through a lot because of his problem. He truly wanted help, he really didn't want to be that way. He went away to rehab, but that didn't help him. Him and my grandma even looked to witchcraft to free him of his alcoholism, but he walked away just as addicted as before. It wasn't until later in his life, when he and my grandma, my dad, as well as all my aunts and uncles met Jesus. That was when everything changed for them. When my grandpa gave his life over to God, he was finally set free. Jesus delivered him from his addiction, and he never took even a sip of alcohol ever again. Praise God, for He is the one true Deliverer.
Our family was founded on the salvation and deliverance of God almighty. I don't ever want to lose sight of that. My family and I have been left with such a rich legacy built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. And my prayer this Christmas, is that no one in my family ever forgets that. My prayer is that my sister and I, our parents, our aunts & uncle's, our cousins - and now their children, will all carry on this beautiful, Godly legacy in our lives.
Not only was I left with a Godly legacy on my dad's side, but also on my mom's side, from grandparents I unfortunately didn't get the privilege to know very well. My grandpa (my mom's dad) was a preacher who, along with my grandma, gave his life to God in his teen years. He touched a lot of people's lives with his ministry. Both him and my grandma lived their lives devoted to the Lord, and raised their 15 children to do the same. Some of my uncles even followed in my grandpa's footsteps and became preachers like him. In 1996, my grandpa passed away from Alzheimer's disease, and my grandma passed away in 2001 from breast cancer. I wish I had known them. I look forward to spending time with them in Heaven someday. But for now I know them from the many wonderful stories my mom has told my sister and I. There's one particular photo my mom has that speaks on the Godly legacy they left behind. It's a black and white photo of my grandpa in a lake baptizing someone. I love that photo.
I feel very honored and blessed to have these beautiful and Godly legacies to carry on. This Christmas, I can't help but think on what legacy I want to leave with my life. I guess I hope at the end of my life people will say some of the same things about me that was said of my grandparents. I hope people will say "She wasn't perfect but she lived her life striving to become more like Jesus every day, and I saw glimpses of Him in her eyes".
So this Christmas I ask you, what legacy do you want to leave with your life?
My Grandparents on my Dad’s side:
My Grandparents on my Mom’s side: