Published December 21, 2010

Paul's Epistle...
("Christmas Stories #2")

Last week I shared in this space some of the personal Christmas stories submitted by readers of this newsletter in response to my earlier request. Here are some more. Thank you again to everyone who submitted such stories. This weekend's broadcast will include 39 of them. But you can read these and many more on our website by going to http://www.thegospelgreats.com/stories.
___

"Christmas is my favorite time of year because there is a feeling of a special love and giving that you don't receive throughout the year. It starts with our Lord. God gave us His son, because He loved us so much. At this time of year, time should be set aside to show our Lord and Savior how much we love Him and we need to give Him all the honor and praise He so richly deserves. May God especially bless everyone this Christmas Season." — Wanda Myers, Monroe, LA
___

"One especially poignant and memorable Christmas was in 2006. My whole family gathered around my sister's bedside to exchange gifts. She had cancer and was nearing the end of her journey. The previous summer we had all been down in North Carolina at the Inspirations' park. We heard the Inspirations sing "If You Only Knew" for the first time and it just fit our situation so well. Less than one month after Christmas, God called Lynnae home and we know she is enjoying God's presence at this very moment. This song will always be special to us." — Gerrene Musser
___

"Christmas is extra special to me because I was born on Christmas Eve. I have always counted it special that my birthday was next to celebrating Christ. To celebrate now, my family take me out to lunch and in the evening I go to our Christmas Eve service, a tradition I look forward to every year." — Shirley Urbonas, Edmonton, AB, Canada.
___

"On Christmas Eve after everyone has gone to bed, I like to turn out all the lights and sit down with a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate and have a moment of silence in which I can thank God in a more personal conversation for the precious gift He gave us so many years ago. I'm not sure when I started this, but it was probably after the birth of my second child. All of my children mean the world to me, but my son was sick as a baby and it was during that time that I realized what it meant for God to send His son, knowing the sacrifices that were to be made." — Mary Ann Oberholtzer, Westminster, MD
___

"I'll never forget the Christmas after our son was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. After five months and four operations in a Children's Hospital, we finally came home to beautiful fall weather, a wonderful revival at our church, and then a beautiful Christmas. My son was doing great. At that time he was twelve years old and the doctors said he did not have very many years to live. This December he will be turning forty one. Christmas is special, but Christ is truly the reason to celebrate the season." — Mary
___

"One of my favorite Christmas memories is making Christmas cookies with my Grandma, Alta Ranck, before they moved to Landis homes. She would always play Amahl and the Night Visitors record, and she would sing along as we made the cookies. At some point during the day, Grandpa would come into the kitchen looking for burnt cookies because they were the ones he could eat, the rest were saved for a later time. Christmas at my grandparents was always a very special time for me, especially when we had our Christmas dinner and almost all the family was gathered together. The house was overflowing with people, and love. Usually at some point, we would gather around the piano and sing carols in four part harmony. Joy to the World has always been my favorite. This will be our first Christmas without my Grandpa, but I know he's in Heaven and his bass is joining in with the Heavenly Choir. He'll be home for Christmas this year." — Katrina Pavelko
___

"When I was a young girl (five or six) we didn't have a lot. One Christmas we asked for a bicycle. Mom and Dad told us to ask Jesus so we did so. On Christmas morning we didn't get a bike _ we received two! We learned later that a neighbor had given them to our parents for us. It was one of many memories I have that proved to me that God loved us and would always take care of us!" — Diana Harlow, Canton, OH
___

"Our family has a unique family tradition at Christmas. To make sure the children understood the true meaning of Christmas, our parents had us sing Happy Birthday to Jesus before we ate dinner on Christmas Day. It was a favorite part of our day, and we truly kept the focus where it needed to be." — Melissa C., DeQuincy, LA
___

"Last year I wanted to start a new tradition, to read the Bible and tell the true Christmas story. Well, my oldest son Jeff had the same idea, but I wasn't aware at the time. When he and his wife arrived, he had brought his Bible, even though I have several. How cool was that? I'm getting older now, but I have the assurance that the Christmas story will be told to the little ones now. I pray that all my family will come to know Christ and know that if it hadn't been for the baby Jesus' birth, there would not have been a death and ressurection, or salvation and eternal life with Him. What a wonderful world, even though it is in such chaos and turmoil, where we can know we have that wonderful peace in Christ Jesus." — Linda Miley
___

"Because our family is scattered geographically, we aren't always able to be together as a complete family for Christmas. For that reason, six years ago we decided that instead of exchanging gifts we would pool our money for a charity. That year we chose Mennonite Central Committee, an organization that shares God's love and compassion around the world in the name of Christ. Since then our family has continued the tradition of donating to a charity. Each year a different family unit chooses the charitable organization. When it is possible for us to be together, we still have lots of fun exchanging "white elephant" gifts and giving small stocking stuffers." — Esther Mast, Lancaster, PA
___

"It was a Christmas Eve service at my church a couple years ago that changed Christmas for me. Our pastor's message was about the sacrifice of Christ's birth: Jesus left the glories of heaven to come to the dust of the earth, He left the praises of angels to be welcomed by animals in a smelly stable, He descended from King of the world to a helpless baby lying in an animal trough. It was that year that I realized that Jesus did not only sacrifice when he gave His life for us, but when He entered the world for us! The song 'Welcome To Our World' by Scott Fowler and Legacy Five became very special to me that year, because it described what I learned that Christmas." — Emily Mudde
___

"Christmas became extra special to me after I got saved. For the first 30 years of my life I didn't know that the greatest gift on earth came from Heaven, nor did I know it was a person. Becoming a child of God, Christmas took on a whole new meaning. It wasn't until this year that I heard a song that so perfectly put into words what I had been trying to communicate. That song is "Grace Has a Face" by Greater Vision. I am so grateful to God for staying with me for the first 30 years of my life so that I could enjoy being His child." — Karen Page
___

Comments on this? paulheil@thegospelgreats.com

Copyright 2010 Heil Enterprises. All rights reserved.