Christmas with the McDougal clan brightens my thoughts today.
The cousins McDougal, Cuff, and Pratt could hardly wait for the day.
We would gather at Grandpa and Grandma’s house at dark on Christmas Eve
Our eyes grew large with delight at the presents under the tree.
We carried our treats into the house decorated green and red
Then we would shed our winter coats, pile them on a bed.
The adults sat on the couch and chairs, the children on the floor,
Grandpa would read the Bible account of the Savior he adored.
The adults would talk about gratitude and the goodness of the Lord
While nine young cousins stared at the gifts, their hearts in one accord.
After a prayer Grandpa would say, “I need two volunteers.
Let’s have Greg and Sheila help distribute the presents this year.”
One by one the presents were shared, each opened before all eyes.
Gasps of surprise and joyous shrieks was the usual exercise.
I remember a special gift when I, a pretend cowboy,
Strapped on my Lone Ranger holster and gun, justice to employ.
Afterwards the adults played games; the cousins enjoyed their gifts.
Games and toys and Christmas treats were relished in regular shifts.
Finally the parents would announce it was time for home and bed.
We took our presents to the car with thoughts of what lay ahead.
Off to bed on Christmas Eve with joy and not with sorrow,
For it will be Christmas in the morn when we awake tomorrow.
This day was a family time with breakfast pajama clad;
Again the Christmas story read, then a gift from Mom and Dad.
Off to Grandpa and Grandma’s house for a delectable pot-luck lunch
With lots of food prepared by all to feed this family bunch.
This day was given to play and fun, to Monopoly and Ping-Pong,
To fellowship, Caroms, play in the snow, and singing Christmas songs.
Year after year our Grandparents showed their love for our Savior dear.
Then our parents picked up the torch; to Christ they sought to adhere.
Now we are grandparents; it’s now our turn to show the ones we love
That Jesus is the focus of life, our hope of heaven above.
Though we have scattered over the years by our cultural migrations,
I wish the McDougals, Pratts and Cuffs a Christ-filled celebration.
These legacy memories are a gift of happy Christmases past.
I pray these reflections your spirits lift as our heritage you hold fast.
This poem was a finalist in the December 2016 poetry contest