We are tired and giddy by the time we got to the end of the night, and the last caroling stop was at our house. As we entered our home, our senses were overcome by the fragrant aroma of homemade bread.
As we all floated towards the kitchen, we were welcomed by my mother, face beaming, standing next to a huge banquet feast including ham, potatoes, vegetables, salad and homemade bread. There were squeals of pleasure and gasps of delight at the sight of such an offering. We all melted into my mother's warm kitchen, eating and laughing, finally just too full to sing another note.
As an adult, however, I realize just how much this memory really means. My mother, at that time, was parenting three high-energy teenagers, as well as overseeing three bookstores during very busy holiday season. Looking back, I know she must have been thoroughly exhausted, yet somehow found the energy after a very long and taxing day at work to prepare homemade fresh bread and a glorious meal to surprise a few hungry teenagers.
Today, each day, I pray that I continue to practice the spirit of love and the magic of Christmas that my Mother tried to instill in me. Because the joy and hope of the Christmas season can be a part of each day of the year if I remember the important lessons my mother taught, and still teaches, through her daily life. And that is:
1. People are more important than things. Furniture and carpet can be replaced, but loved ones can never be replaced.
2. Love invested in others is never wasted.
3. The most valuable gifts cannot be purchased.
4. These three things remain, FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE; and the greatest of these is LOVE.
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