Readers of The Gospel Greats Weekly Newsletter were asked to send in personal stories about favorite Christmas memories.  The original intent was to use some of them on The Gospel Greats broadcast which aired Christmas weekend, 2010.  This was, in fact, done. However, we received so many of them that we wanted to share more of them with you through this special section of our website.  Enjoy perusing these Christmas stories.  And perhaps they will bring to mind some of your own favorite Christmas memories.
Special thanks to everyone who took the time to compose and send in these Christmas stories. Thanks, too, to Andrew Heil of our staff for the massive job of coordinating the recording of stories chosen to be included on the air and for preparing the stories in written form to be included on this website.

The stories on this website appear in random order.

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"I was raised in the Western North Carolina Mountains. My parents were local officers in the Salvation Army. We were taught from an early age that the best gift was one we gave to other people. I was about eight years old and thought I knew the real story about Santa Claus. I was playing in the barn loft and found all of our Christmas gifts. I proceeded to tell each of my brothers and sisters what they were getting. Of course someone told my parents. My dad sat me down and told me I was wrong, those gifts belonged to the church and would be handed out as gifts on Christmas. He told me how disappointed he was in me and that Santa was upset also and I probably would not get any gifts at all because I had been so bad. On Christmas morning everyone had gifts except me. My dad had exchanged everything for a different gift to prove me wrong, and I had nothing. Not even a piece of candy! I was devastated! They let me sulk for about 2 hours till I was sent next door to my Grandmothers house and there were all my gifts and a note from Santa saying I should always believe in him! To this day I believe!" — Jessie Gentry
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"My wife and I are in our seventies now and we try to get our family together, at least once a year at Christmas time. My wife had a brilliant thought just after our oldest son got married. "You know that you and I were expected to visit both sides of the family, after we were married in 1957 and two big meals of Turkey and all the trimmings about 6 hours and 50 miles apart really were very filling," she said. My idea is to ask our boys and their families to visit our home or a restaurant and our home afterwards with their families on Christmas Eve and then the sons and their families would be free to visit with their wive's families on Christmas Day. When our youngest unmarried son graduated from Canadian Nazarene Bible College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, he was assigned a church in Own Sound, Ontario Canada, on the shores of Georgian Bay. The Christmas Eve tradition had to be moved to the Sunday prior to December 25th in order that my wife and I could visit our Pastor son in Owen Sound and cook a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for him and some of his congregation, who lived in nursing homes or lived alone. We had a wonderful time singing Christmas Carols and reading the Christmas Story. Now Brian is married with two children and is Pastoring closer to Toronto, Canada. We have about 22 joining us for turkey and all the trimmings on Christmas Eve at our apartment, and Grandpa is asked to read two stories, 'The Christmas Story' and 'T'was the Night Before Christmas'." — Marge and Doug Gilroy, Toronto, ON, Canada
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"My name is Mark McDaniel and I’m from Granite Quarry, North Carolina, but I grew up in the little town of Mocksville, NC. We never really had any Christmas traditions as I was growing up, but I do remember the cedar trees that Mom would decorate with the huge colored lights, and how much joy we had watching her put them on with all the other decorations. On Christmas morning, we would always open our gifts, and when we were done, the one gift that we wanted most could not be seen anywhere. Then my dad would always say, "You better look around some more because Santa Clause may have left you something in another place." We learned over the years that when Daddy said those words it usually meant that there was another gift that we had not seen, and our disappointment quickly turned to joy and excitement. I also remember the Christmas plays that we had at our small church, Calvary Baptist Church in Mocksville. A large group of the members participated, including adults and children. I remember there was not a lot of money for fancy costumes, so most of them were old robes from home with makeshift belts tied around the waist and a piece of cloth for a covering for the head, but those plays told a wonderful story about our Lord and how he came to this earth as a baby to save the world from their sins. I am thankful that even though my parents allowed us to believe in Santa Clause, they uplifted Christ much more in our lives and taught us that the true meaning of Christmas is that God sent his son to be born in a manger so that we would have the chance to be born again one day into His family. As we got older and smarter, we knew that Santa was just a man in a costume and that he holds no powers. Thank you for allowing me to share a little of my Christmas memories with you." — Mark McDaniel, Granite Quarry, NC
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"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
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"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
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"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
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"Christmas 2000 will never be forgotten in my family. My father went home to be with Jesus the 18th of December after a courageous battle with cancer. Every time I hear the Carol O Come All Ye Faithful I think about Dad, as we sang this right before he walked into glory. Two weeks before he died I asked him and my mother to write out something that they admired about each adult and child in the family. I then took these cherished treasures and mounted them with a picture of my parents in a frame. I was able to give them to every member of the family that Christmas Eve. It was like my father was speaking to each and every one of us from heaven." — Debbie Peters
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"Christmas became extra special to me almost 20 years ago. My sister, Nancy, became ill, was hospitalized, and passed away on December 24. She had been healthy up to this time, so it was a shock for everyone, especially our parents. Because we were preparing for the viewing and funeral, we delayed opening our Christmas presents until a few days after December 25. I will never forget opening the present Nancy had selected for me! I will treasure this memory always, and I can't wait to join her in Heaven." — Ellen Katie
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"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
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"One of my favorite Christmas memories was the wonderful day we had on Christmas Eve! My siblings and I would be so excited with the Christmas season! The church bell played Christmas Songs all day, through the night and all day on Christmas! We never missed the Christmas Eve Vesper Service at our church and then we would head go to another church in town that always did a live manger scene! My grandparents had us over for a nice dinner and Christmas at their place. But it was my Dad who would read the Christmas story around the table! It was very special having the lights dimmed and candles lit. It was a way for us to settle down and calm four rowdy children as well as make memories!" — Brenda McDaniel, Gallipolis, OH
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"I love everything about Christmas, but one of my favorite parts of Christmas is attending church on Christmas Eve with my family. For many years of my life I have sung on the choir and also played in the handbell choir at times, and some Christmases I was even the organist. One Christmas Eve in particular that I will always remember was during my junior high years. I was looking forward to singing "Oh Holy Night" as a solo, and I got sick with bronchitis. However, I was determined to not miss church. I went to church anyway and sang my solo. Another special Christmas Eve memory was going to my Nana's house after church to exchange our gifts with her. She is no longer with us, but she will always be remembered in our hearts." — Melissa Hoffman, Blandon, PA


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