One of the many beautiful churches in West Virginia. Where I’ve been for many Christmas eves. (Deb Meissner photo)

One of the many beautiful churches in West Virginia. Where I’ve been for many Christmas eves. (Deb Meissner photo)

A wish that your Christmas is full of joy and love

Deb reminisces about Christmases past and reflects on the hope of a child born in a manger

When a baby is born, they are clean slates. You look at them, they are helpless, they need you for everything to survive.

When I had mine, I never have felt a greater love looking in their tiny faces.

I was full of hopes and dreams and plans for them and our family. They were a promise of the future.

During the Christmas season, I am reminded of another child who was born, but this one had the hopes and dreams of the world upon him.

His mother, Mary, though, I’m sure had her own dreams for this beloved child. The world would turn out to be in bigger need of this child than any of the plans she may have had for him.

I used to love to go to church with my grandparents and parents on Christmas eve and listen to the story of the baby born that night, and wonder what it must have been like all those years ago, having a baby destined for greatness.

The manger scene, the wise men coming, following a shining star must have been a sight.

At least it was in my child’s mind.

I loved going to church with my family on Christmas eve for other reasons too.

It was usually only lit with candles, and the Christmas music everyone sang, sounded beautiful within those walls.

The last Christmas eve I went to was with my mom and dad, my grandmother, and two of my children. I remember looking down the pew at our family, in this church I was baptized in, thinking it was probably the last of these occasions we would all be together for a long time.

I enjoyed everything that night and committed it to memory. It did turn out to be the last, as my grandmother passed away before we could all get together again.

Now, with grown children with kids and traditions of their own, our Christmases are very different than my childhood memories, or even the memories I have from when my kids lived at home.

It’s quieter now, although I miss the noise and chaos, it’s fun to go to the kids’ houses later and see everyone and have a great meal full of laughter and joy.

This year, it will be a bit quieter for all of us as one is missing. We are not the only ones missing loved ones his year.

Many have passed over this long year who won’t be at our tables. But their memories will be.

I think of all who cannot get together again this year due to the many and ever-changing restrictions. It makes the celebrations a little less joyful, a little more stressful, and for many, more lonely.

So this year I’m going to go and help others, to pass on a smile and help make a Christmas dinner for those who might not otherwise have one.

I’ll smile a little more, as you never know who might need a meal. It’s a tough season for many to even get through.

I’ll be thinking of that little baby lying in a bed of straw who brought hope to so many, and I will do my best to bring a little hope for those in need of a better day too.

I hope your Christmas is full of hope and promise and beautiful memories.

If you manage to all be together, look around and take a mental picture, as it won’t always be that way, and you’ll think of those memories with love in your heart.

However you celebrate this season, I hope it is happy and full of love.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas