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Alice Collins: Christmas time is a time for joy, families

Once again, we prepare to celebrate the Christmas holidays and the beginning of the new year.

I can’t help by think back over the different memories of the various places and people that have been important parts of those celebrations in my life.

As a little child, I did not know what it was all about, but I loved the decorations and was surprised and excited by the gifts.

My grandmothers and my aunt came from Minnesota to our home in Illinois for Christmas, and we always were especially delighted when Aunt Mary came. She was a teacher who had no children, but she loved her students and they loved her. She was the only visitor who didn’t just pat us kids on the head and then joined the adults. She spent time us, played games with us that were not only fun, but I suspect that taught us something, as well. I have tried to remember her example and do more to relate to kids in homes where we have visited.

When our kids were growing up, we made the trip from southern Minnesota to Illinois where our parents lived. It was sometimes a slow, and even dangerous, trip but we wanted to give our kids and their grandparents a chance to know each other. And, besides, our mothers provided a great celebration with all the trimmings.

Going to the old hometown also meant a chance to see some old school friends, those who still lived there and others back to visit family. It was a town of nearly 25,000, but with only one school from seventh- to 12th-grade, so we nearly all know one another. My mother had a traditional open house between Christmas and the new year, which gave us a chance to see more old friends. Sometimes, I wonder if Jesus would be concerned that we have lost sight of whose birthday we are celebrating and how we can best show our true joy.

Christmas comes at a time of the year in this climate when we need to take time to enjoy the beauty of winter and the joy of loving families. Oh, I know that sometimes mothers are stressed by the extra work and dads are worried by the extra expense. But let’s try to make it a time for caring and love.

Merry Christmas.