My mother loved Christmas.
It was perhaps her favorite time of the year.
So many of my Christmas memories revolve around my mother.
As a child, I remember her taking me down Market Street in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
I remember being impressed by the beauty of the sparkling, multi-colored Christmas lights and the delightful holiday decorations at G.C. Murphy’s department store.
Later, when I was a teenager, my mother worked in a clothing store on that same street.
The store was owned by a tall, Jewish man, named Mr. Shapiro, who I often suspected emerged from the womb with a big, long cigar, clenched between his teeth.
Back in the days before our nation was destroyed by the scourge of “political correctness,” my mother would routinely caution me against wishing “Merry Christmas” to a man who was devoutly Jewish.
However, Mr. Shapiro was a delightful, old gentleman, who often seemed to be amused by my obvious unwillingness to heed my mother’s advice.
Even to this day, I’m sure he knew I was playing with him.
My greetings of “Merry Christmas, Mr. Shapiro” were always returned with his answer of “And Happy Hanukkah to you, Bob.”
I loved that old man and the twinkle in his eyes at our annual Christmas and Hanukkah ritual, but my mother was always in the background, cringing at those conversations.
I loved her for that and for a lot of other things as well.
Mom is no longer with us now.
This dear, kind, and gentle woman passed from this life in 2003, during the midst of the Christmas season.
And this special holiday time forever lost a little something for me with her early departure.
In recalling these things, it recently occurred to me that the Christmas season is precisely about a Son’s love for His own mother.
And for all of mankind.
The holiday we recognize as Christmas actually began with a mother and a child.
“Round yon virgin,” the Christmas carol says, “mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild.”
In Scripture, the book of John tells us: “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”
And all of that started with a mother, who brought forth our Savior into the world.
There is something special about the love between a mother and her child.
And since we don’t carry this life within our own bodies for nine months, perhaps it is something that a man can never fully understand.
But I most certainly do understand a child’s love for his mother, one of the few qualities that I also share with our Savior.
While He was still hanging upon the cross, Jesus placed the entire redemption of all mankind on hold just long enough to make sure that someone was there to care for His own mother.
Perhaps that, better than anything else, should illustrate the importance we should place on these precious individuals who bring us into this life.
I must admit that, in all my years as a child, there are very few individual gifts that I actually recall. I do, however, remember my mother, the most precious gift I was ever given on this earth.
But the greatest gift I ever received was that given to us by our Savior.
And it all started with a mother.
Merry Christmas, Mom.
Merry Christmas, everyone!