Christmas means faith, family to me

Guess what?  It is almost Christmas time.  During this time of year, I always love to sit and reminisce about times when I was younger.  I am from a large family.  My mom had 11 brothers and sisters and her grandmother had 21 kids.  So when you say we had great holidays and reunions, well, I am telling you they were great.

It seemed like then everyone got along.  There were lots of laughs, a bunch of eating and it wouldn’t be a family gathering if you didn’t gossip about something.

When I got married and moved far away, the first year it was really hard on me.  You see, on Christmas Eve, we would go to my dad’s family, and then later that day go to my mom’s family, which is in Canada. On Christmas morning, those that could would come to our house while my dad made a huge breakfast. Then it was back to my Gram’s house later that day.  It was a house full of aunts and uncles and tons of cousins.  We didn’t need a lot of friends because your cousins were your friends. 

My Gram’s house reminded me of the Walton house on TV.  It was beautiful, and we could fit a bunch of family in it.  

Once I moved away, I had a really hard time with the holidays.  My husband doesn’t have a big family.  He is an only child.  He didn’t understand what it meant to have a houseful. 

I have made the best of it and we are always having someone over for the holidays.  If you are alone, and I know it, I will be asking you to join us.  Family doesn’t have to be blood.  I believe I am closer to some that aren’t my family just because they are around me more.

This is also the time of year when tensions run high.  Let’s remember to give a little more grace.  Let’s love a little more and ignore when someone is just not being themselves.  Life is too short to hold grudges.  

I know some are holding on to things that has happened way too far in the past.  My advice would be, “Your an adult now.  It is time for you to take control of your own actions and make your life good.  You can’t change the past.  You can forgive and move on.”

I didn’t really know the true meaning of Christmas until I was grown and on my own.  I didn’t go to church a bunch growing up. 

I am so glad that early on in my marriage, I got saved and got into the church and was taught how to have a personal relationship with God.  It warms my heart each year to think on how Jesus was born.  That was the start of great things for all of us.  We sometimes get caught up in the hustle and stress of the holiday we forget why it is a holiday in the first place. 

One of our family traditions is on Christmas Eve we read the Christmas story out of the book of Luke.  This started with my father-in-law and we still do it each year.  The boys know to get a Bible ready because before we do anything we sit and read the story. 

So this Christmas season I ask you to take a time out.  Sit with a coffee or by the fireplace and remember the true meaning of Christmas.  It will warm your heart and could lighten up the holiday season for you.  Tell someone what the true meaning of Christmas really means to you.

SOUTHERN PECAN POUND CAKE

Ingredients

1 cup chopped pecans

1 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup salted butter softened to room temperature, 2 sticks

1 1/3 cups sugar

5 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

topping:

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 tbsp sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

Spray a 12-cup Angel Food Cake Pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup chopped pecans with 1 tbsp. flour.

Stir well then set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1 tsp. baking powder.

Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.

Slowly add in eggs (one at a time.)

Then stir in two teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Once combined, slowly add in flour mixture.

Then stir in sour cream.

Finally, stir in (by hand) floured pecans.

Batter will be thick.

Pour batter into prepared angel food cake pan.

Using the back of a spoon, spread out batter as evenly as possible.

Top batter with 1/4 cup chopped pecans and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. sugar.

Bake for about 55-65 minutes (until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.)

Allow to cool for an hour, then turn out onto a serving dish.

Tina Specht is co-publisher of the Minden Press-Herald. She shares her thoughts and recipes each Thursday.