When I was growing up, my family would spend the holidays at my grandparent's house in Columbus, Georgia. Every year, my father and mother would pack the family car to the brim with luggage, gifts and snacks for my brother and me for our seven-hundred-mile drive to my grandparent's beautiful, hilltop home.
As we pulled up in the driveway, we would always see my grandfather waiting on the front steps with his arms outstretched, inviting us to scramble into his embrace. "Give me some jaw-sugar!" he'd say, demanding kisses on his rugged cheek. Then my grandmother would come out the front door and hurry down the steps to greet us, always hugging my mother first, one of her beloved nine children.
To us, she was "Meemaw," a true Southern beauty with a quick wit and a sharp business mind. She was a faith-filled lady, very warm and fun to be around. Meemaw came from a long line of merchants and entrepreneurs. So after raising her nine children, while my grandfather worked as a civilian engineer at Fort Benning, Meemaw began buying small homes, fixing them up, and then renting them out to soldiers and their families who were stationed at the nearby military base. By the early 1960's, Meemaw achieved her dream of buying a home big enough for all of her children and grandchildren—the beautiful Victorian house that sat on acres of rolling hills covered in wildflowers, surrounded by thick pines that secluded Mooney Lake. Meemaw's house was always warm, peaceful, safe and filled with love. I always thought I could feel the presence of God there.
One of the many things I admired about my grandmother is that every morning she would walk from the back porch, through her garden, and then another thirty yards or so to the tree line where she had cleared out a small area to pray. She would drop to her knees and spend about twenty minutes alone with her Creator, praying for her children and grandchildren. My cousins and I called that special place "Meemaw's Altar." Her example had a significant impact on my own walk of faith. As a little girl, from time to time I would venture out the back door—just like Meemaw—walk through the garden, across the yard, and drop to my knees to pray at Meemaw's Altar.
Today, I want to remind you that your example of faith is leaving an impression on the people around you. Your family, friends and loved ones are inspired by your love and encouragement. Don't just talk about your faith; let people see your faith because there is no greater gift you can give this holiday season.