Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 25, 2009

Ghost of Christmas Past

Christmas 1968

   Over the past weeks leading up to Christmas day, I have been visited more than once by the Ghost of Christmas past — that same benevolent spirit that visited Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ famous novel, A Christmas Carol. Now, don’t get me wrong. Unlike Scrooge, I actually love Christmas. And, don’t freak out about the “ghost” thing! For the first time in fifty-three years I am observing my favorite time of the year without my beautiful Mom. And so, I have allowed the Ghost of Christmas past to transport me back to my days of Christmases past — days made special and memorable by my Mom and Dad.

   My very earliest recollections of Christmas are still vivid, perhaps because they are bolstered by old family photos and my Dad’s home movies. My siblings and I are fortunate that Mom and Dad loved us and made a big deal about Christmas. We were taught that the most important thing about Christmas is that it is the day on which we observe the birth of Jesus — the Word made flesh. Growing up as a Catholic kid, midnight mass at Christmas was amazing. The whole experience filled me with awe of the majesty of God and gratitude for the demonstration of His great love for us.

   Our home was always filled with family, friends, and neighbors — a reminder that Christmas is also about others. When I close my eyes, I can still envision our home abuzz with activity on the days Mom hosted Christmas tamaladas — a South Texas tamale making party with family and friends. The best part for me was being one of the official taste-testers. And, I can still remember the delicious smells of the pan de polvo and empanadas that Mom and her guests would bake in biblical proportions so that lots could be given away. There was never a shortage of food to consume and to give to those in need at Christmas.

   Today, for the first time in my life, I woke up on Christmas morning knowing that Mom will not be here. This is her first Christmas in heaven. I miss her and everything about her. Christmas will never be the same again. Today I will take time to close my eyes and remember my beautiful Mom. I will give thanks for her and for all that she taught me about loving God, valuing family, and caring for others at Christmas and throughout the year. I am grateful for her unconditional love, her constant encouragement, her wise counsel, and for her godly example of serving others. Merry Christmas, Mom. I love you and miss you.


  1. Omar,
    You have honored your mother in a beautiful way. I can almost see those days past in vivid color as you portray them with words~

    Now you carry on the legacy she began with your sweet family. Please tell Cheryl, Niki, Jonathan, and Gina that we love them all as we do you. God bless you my friend as you “remember”.


  2. Celia…

    Thanks so much for your kind remarks. We have made it through the day and have had a wonderful time sharing sweet memories of Mom. Please give my regards to Steve. Hope to see you both sometime in 2010.


  3. Thanks Omar, I grew up in south Texas as well and have very good memories of family during Christmas. I grew up in Taft, just north and east of Corpus Christi, was born in Goliad. Our families gathered around “the wood stove” and opened presents. Most of our homemade tamales would have been eaten already since we made ours during the Thanksgiving weekend. After presents which were opened before daylight we would adventure in the woods near the San Antonio river acting as if we were hunting wild game for our parents. Life is quite different as different as a husband and father now, my family prefers to sleep in and open presents mid morning but it is still all good. Thank you for all that you do.

  4. Omar-

    I am absolutely agreed with Celia. You have many beautiful mothers, around the world, as you serving many people around the global world!



  5. Omar,

    Your eloquent expression of your love and respect for your dear mother serve as an inspiration to all of us who have also worn the title of “Mom”. If my children will remember me with just half the love and respect with which you honor your mother, then I will feel I have succeeded.

    My dear husband, both of my beloved parents and a grandson are in Heaven now, and I understand the sense of loss and the feeling that the world is just not “right” anymore. That is why, hanging on my Christmas tree, is a lovely white ornament that bears this inscription – “You may miss me, but I’m spending Christmas with Jesus this year!”

    It reminds me that my loved ones are not gone, but are simply spending the holiday with another part of the family, as many of us have to do at times in our earthly life. It doesn’t make it any easier to get through the days, because we miss them, but it does remove the despair. “For we sorrow not as those who have no hope…..”

    God bless you, my amazing, intrepid friend. May He give your heart comfort and many smiles during this Season, and may He forever keep you safe as you boldly go where even angels would fear to tread.

  6. Dearest Friends…

    Thanks for your encouraging comments. You remind me that I am very blessed and that my life is enriched by good friends like each of you. Best wishes for your best New Year ever.


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