As I prepare for our family Christmas Eve festivities, I find myself deep in thought about my children—thoughts of when they were young and how they’ve grown into remarkable adults. Of course, like any parent, I suppose I’m bias. But, JOY comes from watching their lives unfold. I am amazed and realize how blessed I am to be their mother.
My son is the oldest, and he puts all of his passion into his work. He wants to help people succeed in life and have restored health. He manages an organic farm and supervises individuals who are returning to the workforce. His goal is to teach the world about health and wellness through proper nutrition. I respect his passion for helping others and believe he makes a difference in lives each day.
The oldest daughter is a mother of five. Two are in college already; where has the time gone? She juggles her hours with the other three, taking them here and there. Plus, she works at the school during the day. I’m proud of the type of mother she is to my grandchildren. I should have known she would be a good mom. She is my stepdaughter and many years ago, when my two kids visited their father on weekends, she always hung around and showered me with love and attention. She must have sensed how lonely I felt without them home. I’ll always be thankful for her empathy and kindness. She made a difference on those many weekends. She makes a difference today as a mom.
My middle daughter is an incredible woman. From the time she was little, she wanted to be a nurse. But, life didn’t oblige. She became a software developer. After a twelve-year career and two babies, she quit her job and put herself through nursing school. She now works in ICU at a local hospital. I hear the passion in her voice when she talks about how good it feels to help, care for, and comfort the sick. Although I haven’t seen her at work, I know without a doubt that she puts her heart and soul into taking care of her patients. She’s a dedicated, compassionate woman who makes a difference to those in her care and their families.
The youngest daughter has a heart for special needs children. She began working with them while still in high school. When she graduated, she acquired a job with the high school district. I’ve seen her in action, and she’s amazing with the students. Her passion takes over, and she always seems to know just what to do in any given situation. Her co-workers respect her and utilize her passion and expertise to diffuse many circumstances. My little girl has grown into an awesome young woman and mommy who is making a difference in this world. She has no idea how she blesses me as she lives her selfless life.
Christmas is about giving of ourselves. I share these accomplishments because, at this time of the year, it’s important to put others first. My children live to make a difference in lives. They are examples of passionate, giving human beings. They give me JOY.
On Christmas Eve, I get to be with all of them. Once a year, we share dinner and open gifts. This year, however, my son will be missing from the equation. He moved away last year and can’t get home for Christmas. But, the girls will be here with their spouses and children. My house will be noisy—full of JOY, laughter, chatter, and celebration.
Some time before opening the gifts, I will ask the grandchildren why we celebrate. Two or three will answer, “Because it’s Jesus’ birthday.” In satisfaction, I will sit back and watch my loved ones interact as I reminisce of past Christmases. I will love every minute of our time together.
Christmas may only come once a year, but the gift of giving to others can happen every day. May you experience the JOY of giving from the heart this wonderful season.
Merry Christmas from my home to yours.