I cannot tell you a single gift I received that year. I do not remember the Christmas menu or holiday treats. I cannot recall my holiday outfit or that I even cared about a Christmas outfit. But what I do know is our family had been without an extended family for the three previous years. It is part of what missionaries do. Let me pause here to say thank you to the missionaries in the field this year. Their sacrifices are unending.
However, 1974 was my first Christmas back in the states after my parents served on the field of Indonesia. I was nine years old. For Christmas my parents, brother, sister and I headed ‘through the woods and to Grandma’s house.’ We poured into my grandparent’s mountain home along with my uncle, aunt, and cousins to share the next three days. Granddaddy had cut a Christmas tree off of his property. (Though it sounds picturesque, and in my childhood mind it was, BUT Granddaddy was known to put two scrawny trees together and bond the trunks together with twine instead of spending money on a bought tree. 🙂 ) However as the decorated tree stood beside the picture window with a view of the snowy mountain tops and with the toasty fire in the fireplace; everything was beautiful. We opened gifts, and Dad read the Christmas passage. If my story ended here, it would have been a great Christmas.
However that year, snow began to fall. It continued until our family who had not been together for years, were snowed in. Maybe, God was hitting the pause button to allow us a chance to make up for lost time. Perhaps, it was a reminder to be with loved ones. But the unplanned days of an extended Christmas celebration were full of sledding down mountain hills, ice-skating on a city pond with family, cousins and the small town. It was a Christmas memory I will never forget.
I saw the joy of family. I realized the gift of relationships. I embraced the time spent with loved ones. To this day, it continues to be my favorite Christmas memory.
What makes Christmas special? For me, it is and will always be foremost the gift of a baby in a manger. But as a child, on that first Christmas back in the states, it was being with the people I love and enjoying life together. It was about the snow and playful memories. It was a beautiful Christmas.
What makes Christmas special to you?
This week I share some profound words of wisdom from my family and friends. Their comments will encourage you, as they did me to create a wonderful Christmas for yourself and your family. Enjoy!
Liz Sanders: “What makes it (Christmas) great to me is focusing on how very much God loved us that he would part with his only son. Once I became a mother, that meant exponentially more to me in light of how much I adore my kids.”
Karen Deaton: “I, too, find the greatest part of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Terry Seamon: “What makes Christmas special to me is the thought that God, our Creator, chose to empty Himself and become the God/Man for all eternity…not just His thirty-three years on earth…all to save sinners like me.”
Leticia Dye: “Family time, focusing on others, and the fun events teaching us about Jesus.”
Pam Rutherford: “What makes Christmas special? Being with family and knowing that Jesus Christ made it all possible.”
Pam Yerkes: “What makes Christmas special is carrying on traditions from your parents, baking Christmas cookies, telling the grandkids about Jesus.”
Sadie Alexander: “Emmanuel … the reminder that Jesus could have come any way He chose, but He came as a fragile baby so that we could be reborn through His unlimited Love.”
Teddy Carter: “Without any doubt, the specialty of Christmas is the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and understanding that his birth was the death of my sins through him. He is the greatest present that I have ever received.”
Danny Seamon: “Family (being) Here”
Cathy Lawrens: “Since becoming a believer in Christ, Christmas is about my Heavenly Father and son, it is about me as well, being His child.”
Suzanne Beck: “Spending time with family and going over the past Christmas’s.”
Anna Wallace: “Family”
From my heart to yours my friends, Merry Christmas!