This post is by Janine Muniz.
As the last months of the year roll around, many find this a time of family and tradition. This is true for me, too. However, this is also the time of year I reflect on the amount of loss my family has experienced over the past twelve months. But this year I’m taking a different approach. Instead of thinking about the loss of my loved ones, my focus is on the happy memories we created.
Like most people, food played a significant role. Mom’s Thanksgiving turkey was epic. Every single year. However, if you ask, she feels the best turkey she ever made was the last one grandpa shared with us. The perfectly browned skin and the meat, the opposite of dry. There also was the crunchy top of the stuffing, arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), and the cheesecake that did not suffer a crack on top. There was a picture of the spread taken but the turkey, and my siblings and myself with grandpa, take center stage. The picture is a favorite of mine and has a place of honor on Mom’s fridge.
Christmas was a big holiday for my family. A favorite memory of mine was midnight mass. My church held two services, one at 6:30 pm, which was the Children's mass where the pageant was performed, and the main event at, well, midnight. As the times changed, the Children's mass was phased out, and the midnight mass was when the Christmas pageant was performed. It was a grand affair, with the choir leading the procession via candlelight and the nativity story intertwined into the mass. For me, it was the most unique way to see the little children dressed as angels and sheep, worship, and celebrate as the little family portraying Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.
Reflecting on the happy rather than the sad, has reminded me of the light the birth of Christ brings to the holiday season. It erases the darkness, clearing my mind to see good things my eyes and my heart missed. He renews in me the hope that he brought to this weary world along with a love that only he can give.
What memories do you reflect on during this holiday season?
Janine Muniz has an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) and is working on her first novel. She has written anecdotal stories and opinion pieces on different topics when she was a writer for SNHU Odyssey, a student-run writer’s platform, and featured on Sweatpants & Coffee. When she’s not setting her newest idea to paper, Janine is a planner enthusiast, loving all things kawaii. She lives in a full house with her three boys, two cats, and two dogs in Ronkonkoma, NY.
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