Growing up in a family of seven, memories of the Christmas season are first and foremost. Donning the tree with handmade ornaments is where it all began. My childhood kitchen was always sprayed with flour and sprinkles with the intent of decorating cookies to be given as gifts. Christmas Eve at my Grandmother’s house was just the beginning of the magic that the gifts would bring. On Christmas morning, my brothers and sister and I would sit anxiously on the steps waiting for the cue, “looks like Santa came.” I was always the last off the steps as my brothers were older and my sister a little more adamant, but I didn’t care. For as many years as I can remember, it was the anticipation of a new doll baby for me. I couldn’t wait to see what she looked like and the name she had been given that was usually printed on a tag dangling from her beautiful dress. After the last gift was unwrapped, we would sit quietly as my dad would share the story of the real baby that would change our world. The one who was destined to be King and give us a life of forgiveness, joy, and peace.

Today, I’m a mom with kids of my own. I hold tight to the memories that seem to be a lifetime ago. They warm my heart and spirit, reminding me of the blessings of having a family that adored me and of the family that I could have in Jesus.

When my four were little, my traditions became our traditions. Donning the tree with handmade ornaments, decorating cookies, and most importantly, our children waiting on the steps until they heard, “looks like Santa came.”

As my children grow, the anticipation of Santa is less and less. No waiting on the steps this year, instead, we were given the opportunity to serve those “without a key,” those without a home. Along with my family, some of our friends were able to provide for some of their immediate needs. We constructed and served over one hundred Christmas bags containing secondary essentials like toothpaste, socks, a toothbrush, a knit hat, gloves, lotion, chapstick, wrapped food, and tissues. It was quite moving for me to be able to watch one of my sons, who once waited anxiously for Santa, become Santa and bring joy to these men, women, and children. All of this was possible because of a relationship that generated with a woman named Mayra over McDonald’s coffee just three weeks ago. Mayra is a young woman whose life mirrored that of those we served Christmas morning. She knows what it’s like to be “without a key.” Aside from connecting with Mayra, the blessings we were able to pass along would not have been possible without the faithful donations from people across the country!

We feel truly blessed to have been able to spread joy and the love of Jesus to HIS people here in Dallas. This Christmas will be one I’ll cherish for many years to come.

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