Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Memories with author James Diehl

Lighting the candle with Mom-Mom

Every family creates and maintains memories at Christmas time, and our family was certainly no exception. From wrapping gifts, to cutting down the tree to leaving a snack out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, we had all the normal holiday traditions growing up.

For some reason, however, the Santa that came to my house when I was a kid preferred beer and pretzels to milk and cookies. I always thought that was odd, but hey what did I know? I was just a kid.

But what I remember most about Christmas growing up was going to church on Christmas Eve with the whole family – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, kids. We were all there and we were there for one reason – because “Mom-Mom” wanted us to be there.

I was never the most religious person growing up, and I’m still not all that religious today. But on Christmas Eve for my first 34 years of life – except for when I was away at college – I was at St. John’s United Methodist Church with the family

From the Christmas story, to the offering, to the singing of carols, the entire service led to one thing. We all knew it was coming; heck, we picked up a little white candle on the way in and had been clutching it with our excited, little hands for nearly an hour, just waiting for the opportunity to set flame to wick.

When the moment finally came, all the lights in the church would go out, the candles would be lit and the congregation would sing “Silent Night” as one. I remember looking over at “Mom-Mom” on occasion and seeing her as content as I had ever seen her. This was her time, with her family, on her favorite holiday.

“Mom-Mom” passed away in 2003 and I now attend Catholic Mass on Christmas Eve with my wife and two young daughters. But I’ll never forget all those Christmas Eves of yesterday, standing with my grandmother in the very church where she met my grandfather in the 1940s.

It was a special time of the year; it was her time, and we all loved every minute of it. I would love nothing else than to have that moment again in 2009, and I will, though it will have to live on in my mind and in my memories.

Merry Christmas “Mom-Mom!”

James Diehl is an award-winning journalist who has covered Sussex County, Delaware for various media outlets since 1998. Since 2007, he has owned and operated a freelance writing company based in Seaford, Delaware and is also a partner in a Lewes, Delaware-based public relations and marketing firm. He is the author of one other work of non-fiction – “Remembering Sussex County, from Zwaanendael to King Chicken,” published in 2009 by The History Press. James lives in Seaford, Delaware, with his wife and two daughters. You can visit his website at

Read my review of James Diehl's book here.

A copy of this book was provided for review by Virtual Book tours
Visit Virtual tours here


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