Christmas 2017

IMG_5334… is past.  Well, in the Myrick house — it lingers for at least another week!  (( thanks to Super Elf Sheryl ))

2017 has been yet another challenging year of change, transitions, the gnawing emotions of grieving and recovering, and … the beauty of remembering.

Again this year, we remember our sweet Lynne, Nana and Papa who left us for Heaven earlier than we could have expected.  Yet, we choose Joy.  Unspeakable joy.  As only those who know Jesus can.

This week in our small town, amidst all our Christmas celebrations and special worship services and ceremonies, family traditions and gatherings, we joined hands and hearts with others who grieve and mourn loved ones who entered Heaven this week.  It’s been a very different kind of Christmas.  Again.

I was reminded this week that my sweet Granny (my Mom’s mother) passed to Heaven on Christmas Eve many years ago.  My Mama still remembers the pain and suffering that Granny endured and she says those memories never really go away.  The memories of that Christmas always cause me to reflect and take in the realities of life and death. But mostly … LIFE lived to it’s fullest.

My Granny and my Mamaw were humble homemakers, farmers, and make-it-from-scratch domestic engineers.  Holiday meals and goodies, surprise gifts under scrawny Christmas trees … they always found a way!  The men would hunt and fish and clean the meat, while the Mamas prepared the family gatherings in those rural South Mississippi farm houses.  What beautiful memories of great joy, laughter, and full tummies!  My Mama has carried on a legacy of Love when she cooks, serves, and shows kindness to everyone around her.

Sheryl’s Grandma and Granny were Virginia and West Virginia women, respectively.  Their Victorian colonial traditions and Appalachian lineage influenced Sheryl’s family with grand traditions, beautiful childhood memories, and yes — yummy foods and goodies!  Sheryl’s Mama was the life of the party at all times, and Christmas was her showcase Season.  We see ‘Nana’ in almost everything we enjoy about our family Christmas.  Lots of laughter, joy, fun and games, favorite movies, and downright silliness!

So, this Christmas … we have hustled and bustled, shopped and dropped, worshiped and prayed, and yes … grieved and comforted one another.  I have stilled myself to remember.  To remember our heritage.  To remember our legacy.  To remember the journeys of our parents and grandparents, and theirs.

Stories are powerful.  Songs are worth singing.  Everybody has a story.  Everybody has a song.  I pray for my family and for yours that we will tell our stories and sing our songs.  The world needs to know who you are and how you got here.  Someone’s life will be forever changed because of yours.

2018 is coming.  And it’s gonna be filled with tremendous challenges, world changing situations, and the stuff of life.  God is still God.  And, I am not.  And, neither are you.  Let’s do more listening, more trusting, and more acting out the kindness that God places in our hearts towards others.

Our Mamas and Grandmas and Grannies are watching.  Some from Heaven, some from next door.  Their love and kindness changed our lives forever.  Now, let’s pass their legacies on to those around us who need to know that the greatest gift of all … is LOVE.

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