But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family …, for this is pleasing to God. — 1 TIMOTHY 5:4

As the twinkle in her beautiful brown eyes begins to dim, and I gently stroke her hair, I realize this will be the last Christmas with my mother. Her ability to speak intelligent words is all but gone now, and barely able to wobble around the house, I now know for sure every moment is precious. She reminds me of the purity and innocence I've seen in the eyes of a two-year-old, where everything is brand new, as though she's never been this way before.

After three recent falls, and growing weaker with each passing day, mom has very little time left before she joins dad and her blessed Savior. News came today that her sister suddenly passed away, and she didn't understand what I was saying to her. I see confusion in her eyes as she tries to share what's on her heart, and the weakness of not wanting to try and say it again. Tears well up in her eyes, as I continue to run my fingers through her hair.

Another night we get to say prayers together. It was her praying over me as a child, and now me praying over her. All those years ago when she tucked us in the bed, now it's us tucking her into bed, and kissing her goodnight. Eighty-two joy-filled Christmases this South-Georgia girl enjoyed, who loved us every day of our lives, and gave us many gifts, sacrificing much for her three children. One of the greatest gifts she gave us was the gift of gratitude and thankfulness.

Being very poor in her growing up years, taught her how to be grateful and humble. Dad loved her well over their sixty-one years together and provided her with more than she could've ever dreamed. Her kind heart, and her willingness to go out and bring the homeless and destitute into her home for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner, never ceased to amaze me! If we didn't have 30+ for the holiday meals, she felt like a failure.

Now, as the curtain begins to close on a wonderful life, I'm so grateful and thankful, and have absolutely NO regrets. I have been so blessed and touched by this true southern bell. Thank you, mom, for the memories, for believing in me, and teaching me to believe in myself. Thank you for teaching me to love everyone regardless of where they stood on the social ladder, and lastly, thank you for your love and passion for Jesus. Even though I led you to Christ, your inspiring and fruitful journey, has given me more of a taste of Jesus, than a thousand church services! You were the CHURCH mom, and every day was Christmas Day!

Think and pray
Many of us have the opportunity to repay our parents for all they did for us many years ago. Now in their most vulnerable season, let us all step up and obey what the scripture admonishes us all to do and care for our aging parents and grandparents. With God’s strength, we can do this very important thing even while running a business and touching people’s lives all around us.

Father, thank you for the gift of parents and grandparents. During this Christmas season help me to love those around me the way that you love me! Amen.

Boe Parrish is the CEO of Corporate Care, Inc., Author of “Blueprint of a Kingdom Business, and Pastor of a house church in Edmond called Disciple House