DECEMBER 6, 2020    

Blessed by the presence of both sets of grandparents in my earlier years, I possess many cherished Christmas memories. One such Christmas “grand-gift” brought to life for me the wisdom of, “Love is often shown best in deeds rather than words.”

Sweet Mamaw Stevenson always began planning and preparing her traditional Christmas Eve special treat weeks in advance. Her creativity knew no bounds, and anticipation of “this year’s special Mamaw touch” ran high.

I had been dating Brian for a bit; yet, not everyone in our family had met him. How I wished he could have been with us! Alas, the Marine Corps had other Christmas Eve plans for him.

But Mamaw also had a plan …

The wire strung the full length of the dining and family rooms heightened our anticipation, as did the twinkle in Mamaw’s eye. With humble grandeur Mamaw proceeded to attach the first homemade hot air balloon and send it soaring across the room. Inside the basket were handmade dolls with uncanny resemblance to the members of my uncle’s family!

Family balloons soared as everyone laughed and checked out their dolls. My brother and I waited patiently (as best we could) for our family balloon … and then … there it was … soaring toward us.

Curiously, there were five heads peeking over the basket rim … Mom, Dad, my brother, me, and a US Marine in dress blues, sporting a high-and-tight made from tiny brown threads upon his head!

It was at that moment that I knew Brian was unconditionally accepted as part of our family. Mamaw’s inclusion of this man with whom I had fallen in love meant the world to me!

Mamaw could have simply told me she liked Brian, but the time, labor, and love she put into that doll in that hot air balloon basket touched my heart more deeply than words.

“Love is often shown best in deeds rather than words.”

I hope to always remember that Christmas Eve and Mamaw’s gift of love soaring from her heart to mine.

Linda Fitzgerald  

Click here to see the complete 2020 Advent Devotional booklet.