Christmas cookiesThe other day, my mom and I were out shopping. On the way home, we started talking about Dominic and all the cookies he liked to consume this time of year. It was then that she expressed something really beautiful. Through all the difficulties of this season and dealing with loss, she has learned valuable lessons. And I have too.

Last year, we mourned because it was our first Christmas without my uncle. Going to Christmas Eve dinner seemed tortuous in a way. Nobody wants to stare at an empty chair. My uncle had a favorite cookie. It is an Italian cookie that has spanned generations in my family. Not one of us baked it last Christmas. It was too painful. We didn’t want the salt of our tears pouring in the dough…

However, that cookie was also one of Dominic’s favorites. He loved it. We had no way of knowing that young, healthy, man wouldn’t be with us this Christmas. On the way home the other day my mother said, “I’ve learned that we need to keep going. We can’t give up on traditions. We can’t stop baking, buying, and wrapping. We don’t know if this year will be our last with those we love.” Now, that is wisdom.

We will forever miss those who aren’t with us anymore. But my wonderful stepfather wouldn’t want us to stop, and my uncle wouldn’t have wanted us to skip a year of baking those delicious cookies. Our loved ones are safe in eternity, but we are still here living and breathing the air the Father has ordained for us. We are still walking the road which has been mapped out for our lives, and through it all, we must preserve the gifts He has given.

Cookies, shopping, wrapping – they are only stressors if we allow them to be. We need to find joy inside our crowded malls and sugar coated kitchens. The loved ones who have gone before us, they were gifts. And someday, we will be looked upon as gifts too. So let’s live making memories for those who will continue onward in the traditions, old and new, that we created.

And most importantly, let us glorify Jesus in all of it.

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

-Psalm 43:5

It’s the season of hope. Let us breathe deeply the gifts of this world and make some beautiful memories with those we hold dear.

What are some of your family traditions?



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