Welcome to the 2016 Christmas Blog Hop,
Hosted by Divine Promotions!
Each Hop participant was tasked with writing a short “getting to know you” post about the meaning of Christmas in our lives. We were also invited to post a holiday recipe we enjoy, and a photo that reminds us of the beauty of the season. Hopefully, our posts will inspire you to consider what your holiday — be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or other spiritual celebration — means to you; and encourage you to share your thoughts with others, in the spirit of the season.
The Post…What Christmas Means to Me
Some of you know that my mother passed away last January, and as her only child, everything in my life changed in a hot minute. Her sudden, unexpected death tilted my world on its axis, ripped the virtual rug out from under me; plunged me into a boundless sea of grief; and left me barely afloat for weeks at a time.
For most of my life, mom was the heart of our family Christmas celebration. When dad was deployed, she stepped up to make the holidays as ‘normal’ as possible by keeping beloved Christmas traditions alive from year to year. So naturally, as Christmas approaches, the sense of her loss is intensified. Long-buried memories surface at random, triggered by the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the holiday. It’s truly the definition of bittersweet – a mixture of profound love and sadness that has kept me more than a little off-balance in the past few weeks. But as mom would say, “This too shall pass.” The pain will not necessarily pass, but it will ease as time goes on, and the family traditions she cherished will mean more and more.
Some days it’s tempting to give in; to turn my back on the holiday this year, bury myself in work or writing, and let it pass without acknowledgment. But that would be a selfish act. It would do nothing to honor the wonderful woman who loved this season so much and worked tirelessly, year after year, to make it as “perfect” as it could be for her family. Today, in her honor, I ask your indulgence as I share just a few thoughts on the meaning of Christmas, 2016.
Christmas is about memories – some loving and tender, some ridiculous, some hilarious, and some incredibly painful — but all are part of the person we are today, and the person we will be tomorrow. They should be treasured and honored for enriching our lives or teaching us important lessons.
Christmas is about gratitude — for all that we have, and for all we are able to share with others.
Christmas is about hope – not merely in a traditional religious context, but in the sense that at the end of each year, we are given a fresh opportunity to be better than we were the year before; to do more; to give more; to love more.
Christmas is all about love, expressed through kindness of heart and gentleness of spirit. Peace cannot exist in a person, in a family, in a country, or in our world without love, respect and kindness, shared freely and unconditionally.
I hope you and your loved ones have a very blessed holiday season and a peaceful New Year.
Boozy Cranberry Sauce…
Source: Pinterest, shared by Heather Sheire, http://livinthepielife.com
1 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries, picked over
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup cognac
1/2 cup cane sugar (I use organic raw sugar)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and cook until almost all of the cranberries have burst. Transfer the sauce to a bowl to cool to room temperature. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to five days. Serve cold.