But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. –Luke 2:19
When I think of Christmas my thoughts focus on Mary, the mother of Jesus and my thoughts immediately go toward the impact of my own mother, Mrs. Elia Olivares Alvarado, on my life. Her treasure at Christmas was all about family. Growing up, we did not have elaborate traditions celebrating Christmas Day. Rather, being with family was the core of the Christmas celebration.
My mother was raised as part of a large family with 12 siblings so family meant lots of cousins, uncles, aunts and, of course, grandparents. We celebrated with great food like tamales, rice, beans and homemade tortillas. Our Christmas celebrations continue to be about gathering our family to spend time together and share good food and fellowship. It really is not so much about material gifts, rather the gift of being with each other and the gift of belonging to each other.
The impact of my mother in my life came into sharper focus this summer when she unexpectedly underwent quadruple coronary artery bypass surgery in Corpus Christi. I was with her before, during and after the surgery. We engaged friends and family to pray for a successful surgery and comprehensive healing.
All the feelings and memories of the impact of my mother on me as a mentor, teacher, advisor and leader come to mind. I ponder in my heart and treasure the wisdom my mother has conveyed to me throughout my life. She is the most selfless person I know. I treasure my mother for loving me and showing me how to be a woman of faith, a devoted wife, a loving mother, a professor-researcher, and most of all, a follower of Jesus. This Christmas I am especially grateful for and I ponder the treasure of my mother in my heart.
May we each celebrate those in our lives who have pointed us to Jesus, the one true treasure in our hearts this Christmas Day and every day.
Belinda A. Reyes is married to Albert Reyes, president and CEO at Buckner International. Belinda and Albert live in Dallas and have three sons.