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My grandmother had quite a collection of Christmas angels. They were all different shapes and sizes. Some were plastic and some were very fragile—she must have had hundreds of them. Every Christmas, she would bring them out of storage from the attic and artistically design her living room to showcase each of them. The living room was always adorned with the Christmas spirit from floor to ceiling.

Every Sunday in the month of December after church, she would always have an open door policy for people to walk through the display of angels. She would greet family and friends with hot tea and homemade Christmas desserts when they entered her home. Baking was her specialty and making people feel at home was second nature to her.

Her name was Kathryn (my middle-name sake) and it means “to be pure.” She was known around town for this annual Christmas event. I know she adored her angels, but I know she loved sharing the Christmas season with others even more. It was her way of holding the meaning of Christmas sacred and reminding others about the birth of Jesus.

When she passed away, the angels were split between my mother and my aunt.

Both of them continued to display the angels in their homes during the Christmas season—on their mantles, on accent tables, next to the table-size manger, and on their dining room tables. As a child, I always loved playing with the non-breakable angels and making up stories with them.

My mother and my aunt loved the angels, but they loved honoring their mother more by showcasing the angels. It was as if they sprinkled the love of my grandmother throughout their homes along with the hope we have in the Savior.

Angel figurines lined up

Now that my mother has joined her mother in heaven, I have some of these holy angels. There is something so special and hearty about having family heirlooms passed down from generation to generation.

RELATED: I Wish I Could Make a Phone Call to Heaven

There is also something so beautiful about leaning into the generations before you and learning from them.

The angels are beautiful and so special to our family, but I also enjoy honoring the legacy of the women before me.

These delicate angels make me wonder: what is the legacy of my grandmother? What is my mother’s legacy? What did these angels-both those been displayed in homes and these two in heaven mean to me?

My grandmother had a heart of hospitality and a heart to show the real meaning of Christmas. She was a pure heart, just like the meaning of her name.

My mother had an authentic way of sitting with people and learning about them. She liked one-on-one conversations the best where she could truly learn about the heart of another.

RELATED: Dear Mom, Thank You For All of the Christmases You Gave Me

As much as honoring the Christmas angels is a legacy gift to me, the real gift from my grandmother and my mother is their love of people. They cared for and loved others well. (And to prove it, they were both teachers.)

Christmas angel and tree

Isn’t that the real meaning of Christmas? To reflect the love and hope of our savior and to pass it down from generation to generation while we add our unique touch to create our legacy.

A legacy of women. A legacy of the savior. A reminder of hope.

Christmas in its holiest of ways.

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So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Sue Volikas

I've been married to my high school sweetheart, Tim, for 18 years and became a mom 6 years ago through adoption to my adventure seeker daughter. I'm trying to see the beauty and hope in broken places. I write one glimpse at a time about grief and loss, mother-daughter relationships, adoption, and faith.

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