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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Always Room with Mama

Are you missing someone this year for Christmas? I am. Mama always made Christmas special. When I was a child, Christmas seemed a miraculous time. My grandparents, Big Tom and Gigi, always came Christmas morning to share in the excitement of the day. When I had young children, we often went to Mama and Daddy's house in Georgia for a time with all of our family—my brother and his wife and two children and my sister would be there. Sometimes other people would come just to be a part of our family—friends that were lonely and needed love. God always brought those who had needs into Mama's life.

Christmas was a time to share the Christmas story, and reflect on the miracle of the child who was born to save us. Christmas was a time of games and music. We learned not to play Trivial Pursuits with Pat. He knew all the answers. We played fictionary and other games that took a lot of imagination. Often two folding tables would be set up in the family room, and different games would be going on at the same time. Laughter filled the room. We also sang a lot. My brother played the guitar, and we sang. The Hamptons always sang.

When the house was full, some of the younger ones slept on a bed in the garage. There was always a place to sleep, and a place to share, and be loved. There was always a place of acceptance, and a place where you were inspired to be more than you thought you could be. There was always room. Always.

Mama always saw our potential, and inspired (often pushed) us to achieve it. She believed in who we could be when we had little belief in ourselves. Even up to the time of her death in February of this year, she always inspired and reminded us of our potential. Christmas Eve last year I knew she was failing, and that she needed to come home from Autumn Cove for a special evening. And it was a wonderful time. She prayed in her shaky voice. It was the last time she would come home for Christmas, and it was not too soon afterward that she never left Autumn Cove again.

I miss Mama this Christmas. I miss her laugh. I miss her look that said “you need to think that one through.” I miss the look that could see right through me. I miss watching Matlock with her. I miss holding her hand, straightening her room, and hearing her say, “aren't you about ready to quit fussing so much?” I miss her loving concern for everyone in her life. A week before her death she was asking staff at Autumn Cove about their families, and sharing her love with them.

So this is our first Christmas without Mama. I still love her and miss her. The greatest promise I have is that I will see her again. She probably has her family already organized in heaven.....waiting for the rest of us to come. Mama's legacy of love lives on. Although she is not with us physically this Christmas, the memory of who she was in our lives will be with us.

I pray each one of you who has lost a loved us will remember the good times and the good memories. Bring the memory of who they were into your home this Christmas. Love your family completely and unconditionally. Pray for all to know the promise of God's unfailing love.

Mama, I pray I got this right.

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