10 Reasons Why I Love Christmas

10. The way Christmas smells – pine boughs on doors, cinnamon and spice fragrances filling shops and stores

9. Playing monopoly with my sister early on Christmas morning before everyone wakes up – a tradition since we were kids to pass the time before we were allowed to open up our stockings

8. Time off from work – a needed chance to rest, relax, and be together as a family. I love my family so much and cherish every moment I get to spend with them.

7. I can say “Merry Christmas” to customers at work, which is the closest thing I can say to “Jesus loves you.” :-)

6. The luminarias that light up the streets in the Southwest around Christmas time. My parents organize the Flagstaff annual luminaria event, which is a 2.5 mile loop of 350 houses with 7,200 luminarias.

5. Wearing my maroon and olive green clothes – my two favorite colors!

4. Christmas cards – an excuse to re-connect with friends old and new, and express how much they mean to me

3. Two words – “Honey Ham.”  So much better than turkey! 

2. My mom’s Christmas Eve posole – a Steinhaus Family tradition. Posole is a Mexican stew with hominy (corn) and green chile, traditionally served on Christmas Eve to celebrate life’s blessings – recipe below

1. Hearing the name of Jesus sung in store intercoms throughout the world – He is the reason for the season. He is why we have Christmas lights, trees, parties, gifts, cards, pageants. If there was no Jesus, December 25 would be just another day. But God sent His own son, to be birthed in a manger  as the light of the world, to rescue us from our sins so we can be in a relationship with God. Jesus gave us the greatest gift we could ever imagine – Himself – and the greatest gift that we can give Him in return is our lives in complete, humble devotion to Him.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned…For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)

The video below describes kids who really “get” the true meaning of Christmas…

Also, here’s my mom’s posole recipe – we always eat it on Christmas Eve but it is good any time of the year!

Traditional New Mexican Christmas Eve Posole

Ingredients:
-24 oz hominy corn – either frozen or dried (reconstitute as directed on the package). You can use canned too but it’s not quite as tasty.
-1 pound boneless pork chops
-1 onion
-2 cloves garlic
-2 cubes chicken bullion cubes
-1 bay leaf
-1 T oregano
-1/2 C green chile
-salt and pepper to taste
-limes, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, avocado, tortilla strips – optional garnishes

Directions:
1. Cut pork into bite-sized pieces, braise with oil in large stock pot 2′ each side
2. Add one chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves, sautee 1 min
3. Add 8 cups water, chicken bullion cubes, hominy, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 2 1/2 hours until corn is tender but not mushy. Add more water as needed.
4. Add oregano, green chile, salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Garnish as you would like. Serve with four tortillas.

May you be filled with joy and love as you gather with friends and family today to celebrate the birth of our savior!

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