This time of year was magical in my youth; it was all about family and spending time together. I still love the feeling I get when I look at a Christmas tree with all its lights.
There are many good memories I associate with Christmas. These include the special cookies Mom made only that time of year, and Grandma’s oyster stew on Christmas Eve. I can’t tell you what color my current bed spread is, but I could give you a detailed description of the bowls my Grandma broke out each Christmas Eve to serve her oyster stew. That’s how greatly the smallest details of those Christmas occasions of my youth are etched in my memory.
As an adult, I’ve never been to a Christmas service without getting a little teary-eyed, and feeling that energy that comes from renewing my faith. Again, I can bring up vivid memories of standing with my mom, holding those candles, and singing “Silent Night” at midnight services.
Of course, as a kid, there was selfish materialism at work, too. I liked the extended break from school and all those magical presents at Christmas. But that’s not what I remember most strongly today.
During the Christmas season, I try harder to express my love and faith, and to feel close to those things that are most important to me. My challenge, and all of ours really, is to try to express such sentiments every day of the year.
I think one of the unique and truly great things about agriculture is that, at the busiest and most challenging times, we tend to gather around our faith and the strength of our families. It may be calving time, weaning time, or in our case, the preparations leading up to our annual bull sale. But it is such times when the family pulls together to accomplish a job; such times draw you closer as a family.
My wish for all of you this Christmas season is that you’ll find the time to sip some eggnog, sing a Christmas carol or two, and play some board games with your family. Also, that you let those you love know they are loved. I also pray that you will renew your faith, love and commitment with family and God.
One of my goals is to be part of a Christmas celebration that triggers for my kids those types of precious memories that I have of family and faith from my youth. That could be one of the best gifts of all.
The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com and the Penton Agriculture Group.
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