Several posts ago, I featured some of my favorite aspects of Christmas and traditions carried out by our family. One of my favorite traditions takes place on Christmas Eve morning.
As a child, Dad carried us out on Christmas Eve to deliver fruit baskets. Most of the people we visited as children, were old, smelly, and boring. I hated the tradition. In fact, it was my most dreaded part of Christmas. We couldn't stand to go along and often begged to be left behind. As an adult, I am appalled that I acted that way. What I realize now is that these people were the ones that made my father into the person he is today.
Over the years, we visited Dad's mentor...the person he claims is responsible for him becoming a lawyer. I remember Dad talking for hours about history, politics, and the law. Dad always left with a handful of old and dusty books and a promise to report back after he'd read them.
We also visited a Mableton family who traded at Barnes Hardware (the family hardware store). They had a daughter with Down syndrome, and I remember the way Dad spoke with her, listened to her accomplishments, and showed us the important role she held in society.
We visited Aunt Lucy (now deceased) who always had a homemade pecan pie made for Dad. Mom never saw these pies because Dad would eat the entire thing before we made it home.
We visited Dad's elementary school teacher who thought he hung the moon and a Mableton preacher who always had time to pray for us and our upcoming year.
I see so much of who I am today because of what I learned on these visits. I appreciate aspects of life that were never interesting to me...all because of these experiences. These were inspirational people to Dad, but what I often forget is how much they've meant to me.
Tomorrow, we're taking the kids (my nieces and nephew) for the third year in a row. I hope they'll eventually reflect on this experience as I do and understand they are better people because of it.
Merry Christmas, friends!