she loved Christmas

Jackie & 4 grandchildren at Christmastime.

I have a couple of tributes to my mother-in-law, Jacqueline Beamer, that I plan to write this week on Sharing Love and Truth.  As I sit and listen to the Kenny G Christmas music playing on my stereo (let me explain…), I am reminded of  her love for Christmas.

Jackie peacefully stepped over the threshold into eternity with the Savior last week.  Our family and many friends are left in the wake of her passing with fond memories of her love and generosity of heart.  How appropriate that we now begin our celebration of the Christmas season which she loved so dearly.

Something fun I want to try to do now is remember all of the many Christmas-themed gifts that I have received from Jackie over the past 25 years.

There have been numerous Christmas ornaments, too many to count.  The same can be said of the Winterberry Christmas dishes that she continued to add to over the years.  I fondly remember the Christmas slippers; however, the Christmas watch brought a bit of contention to our relationship.  She would always look for it on my wrist each Christmas and then ask if I still liked to wear it.

The matching Christmas sweaters for the four Beamer women were always a hit.  The most recent purchase is a beautiful black cardigan sweater with the nativity scene done in gold beading.

Not so well received in our household were then numerous nutcrackers.  When Jackie realized that Jon would get irritated by receiving such a gift, she was encouraged to seek out even more fantastical versions.  We have seen Santa nutcrackers, a Miami Dolphins nutcracker, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus nutcrackers, a snow skier, a toy soldier, and the most famous- a three-foot tall nutcracker.  Jackie had a way of starting collections for us that we never intended to have!

The Kenny G Faith Holiday Album is also from Jackie.  To further complement the atmosphere of celebration of our Savior’s birth, I have received many Christmas snow globes, Christmas dishes with potpourri, Christmas figurines, Christmas singing stuffed toys, Christmas shoes, Christmas lamps, a Christmas nightgown, a Christmas pendent and many Poinsettia flowers.

Some of my most cherished Christmas gifts from my dear mother-in-law are those things that can’t be purchased.  There was that first Christmas Eve- a mere two weeks after meeting Jon, that she welcomed me into their home.  Their family was all together for their yearly tradition of eating party finger foods and watching a movie.  And there I was, barely familiar with Jon and now meeting his family.  Yes, I felt awkward, and they let me know years later that it showed!  Nonetheless, Jackie was gracious as always.

Four years later, on December 29, Jackie was a proud mother of the groom as Jon and I entered our covenant of marriage. I am thankful for the wonderful man that she raised.

On a funny note, I have to mention a memory from one of the many Christmas mornings of opening gifts with all of the Beamer family.  I worked particularly hard that year to make Jackie a padded bulletin board accented with criss-crossing ribbons.  Of course, I used Christmas fabric and red ribbon, and my intention for the gift was for her to display Christmas card photos that came in the mail.  Jackie unwrapped the oversized gift and exclaimed, “Renee, I like this gift, but I honestly don’t know what it is!”

More recently, I think I hit the mark with a gift that was well received.  I wrote a journal using the theme of the 12 Days of Christmas to highlight the many reasons for my gratitude for Bill and Jackie.  They have changed my life in ways that have eternal value, and I needed to let them know that.  The first time that she read the journal, she called me and said, “I never knew you felt that way about us.”  She expressed her gratitude for the gift,which let me know she acknowledged my sincerity of heart.

One last gift!  I think that I, too, have a great love of Christmas!  Maybe not to the extent of my mother-in-law, but she has certainly enhanced my readiness to celebrate the season with great cheer!

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