"Christmas is a special time for me in the fact that everything centers around
Christ - the Christmas tree symbolizing that Christ died on the tree, Christmas
lights symbolizing that Christ is the Light of the World and that we are
to be the light to others, giving of gifts is supposed to symbolize that
God gave His Son (even though advertisers do not think of that). Another
favorite of Christmas for me is the Christmas songs. In 1992 and 1993, we
recorded the popular Southern Gospel Christmas songs of that time, including
"Grandma's House for Christmas" by Kirk Talley and "Jesus is the Reason for
the Season" and I am not sure what male quartet sang that song. At the time
of sharing my Christmas story, I have a grandson who will turn 1 year old
the week before Christmas, and children when young and grandchildren make
Christmas really special." Daniel D. Miller, Shippenville,
"I just wanted to share one of most blessed Christmases. It was about nine
or ten years ago. Our church choir was preparing for our Christmas eve service.
For weeks on Sunday evenings we'd get together for choir practice. Our choir
director asked if anyone was interested in any of the solos to let him know.
I was very interested in one and as each solo was assigned, there was only
one left that was not filled. It was called "Joy to the World", the one that
David Phelps had written. My son TJ was in the choir this year and what a
blessing it was to have him there. TJ had finally stopped running from the
Lord and given his life to Christ. It had been a long and very rough road
but though many, many prayers I got to experience my grown son share his
testimony and get baptized earlier at our Thanksgiving service. To make a
long story short, our choir director heard TJ singing and asked him if he
was interested in singing a solo. TJ had never sung a solo, TJ was in chorus
in school and that was the extent of it. TJ said he would listen to the song
and let Duane (the choir director) know. He said yes and worked and practiced
the song for weeks. I knew TJ could sing, but I didn't know he could SING,
if you know what I mean. I had never heard him truly sing. That Christmas
Eve TJ sang from his heart and oh did the blessing flow. My heart was so
full, there are truly no words to tell you how full. God had promised me
years ago that TJ would serve Him one day, and I got to experience that promise.
My solo followed TJ and let me tell you by God's grace I made it thru. Today
TJ is married and has a family. He is the praise and worship leader for a
men's fellowship called The Light House. He has written songs and has been
singing for the Lord since. What a blessing!" Patty Evert
"Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love the music, the smells
and the feeling of good will that permeates the air around me. I love hearing
the story of the First Christmas when Jesus came to the earth in the form
of a baby to save the world. Brian Free & Assurance have a song called
"A Strange Way To Save The World" that has really become very special to
me. We never would have done it that way, but it was the right way and God
knew it." Elaine Harcourt
"Each Christmas, we use traditional ornaments, decorations, etc., to convey
the true meaning of Christmas to our grandchildren (and grown children!)
and to make present day application. We have birthstone angels for each of
us, to hang on the Christmas tree. One year, I used John 8:12 when Jesus
said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life," and Matthew 5:14 that says, "You are the
light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." We talked about
what the verses mean and had the grandchildren hold their birthstone angels
in front of one of the Christmas lights on the tree observing how the light
shone through them. We then talked about how Jesus' light should shine through
us. It was great to see how the meaning of that very simple activity came
to life by the expressions on our dear grandchildren's faces. Merry Christmas,
Paul and Sheila!" Corinne Erikson, Indian Trail, NC
"Paul I delayed this until I knew the Lord was calling me to preach. This
will be the best Christmas ever and outside his son, the best gift ever.
I will be giving my first sermon sometime after the first of the year. The
strange part of this is that I will 65 on Dec 30. I feel the need to let
people know about my God and how great and awesome he is. I love your program,
so keep up the great work. God is and will continue to bless you."
"Something that stands out in my mind about Christmas memories are the special
things my mother used to plan for certain needy families, usually among our
church friends. This was way back years ago before there were a lot of charities
and groups who made giving at Christmas a tradition as it is today. But my
mother, being the saint she was, loved to buy for a needy family at Christmas.
She didn't buy just a couple toys, but she would buy and wrap all kinds of
things for their entire Christmas, including the parents. One year she even
bought brand new bicycles for a couple boys. Sometimes she would get the
whole church congregation involved and other times she would do it individually.
And then we would take the gifts to the home a couple days before Christmas
and surprise them with it. She always asked us children to contribute one
of our good, used toys. She wanted to teach us the joy of giving, and that
love of giving has carried on thru our families. My own daughter used to
collect for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes that Franklin Graham
started when she was in school.
"My mother passed away this past year, and during her funeral a young woman
stood up and shared how "Grandma Anna" always remembered her every year with
a new doll baby and toys at Christmas and for her birthday. She came from
a very poor home, but she said she always looked forward to receiving those
gifts at Christmas and how Anna never forgot about her and treated her the
same as her own grandchildren. That testimony meant a lot to our family!
God Bless!" Karen Perry
"The song, 'Memories of Christmas' by the Primitive Quartet, has a very deep
meaning for me. We have even played this song at some of our own family
Christmases. It is so parallel to our upbringing when we were small, living
on a farm on Hog Creek in Marble Hill, Missouri. Dad was a minister but also
worked five or six days a week at the brick yard. He visited those in need
and always made time to take the family to other services or revivals. Dad
and Mom had seven children, and even though we were poor by some standards,
we never realized that. We had such a happy life with family and friends,
church family, and neighbors. My memories of Christmas were about the same
as what Reagan [Riddle] wrote. I remember the trees the family would bring
from the woods (they were a scrawny looking lot) but with decorations they
always looked just fine! Dad would bring in a basket of apples/oranges and
some nuts. Our mom's mother was the only mother our Daddy had ever known
and he loved her so much. Each Christmas he would always bring her a huge
stick of red and white candy (like the candy canes were made from). This
made her so happy because this was her favorite and this was the only time
she got some. She loved him too." Hibernia Hovis
"I remember the first year we had sheep. We were expecting lambs to be born
but didn't know exactly when to expect them. I made frequent trips to the
barn in the cold and snow, and I'd sit and watch and wait... and wait...
and wait... and think and pray. I had to wonder what the stable was like
when Jesus was born. I couldn't imagine spending a whole night in our barn
with its smell of sheep and no good place to sleep and yet our Savior spent
his first night on earth in a stable laying in the hay." Norma
"One of my favorite memories is several years ago, when I was at Bible School
at Christmastime. I took a student (who didn't have much material things)
shopping and she was so excited that she had a NEW dress and personal items.
And for the school Christmas banquet, I let her come to my closet and pick
out a dress to wear. And I fixed her hair for her. She was in tears and
absolutely beautiful that evening." Marilyn Shrock
"Most Christmas memories are often of family and close friends. Some of my
fondest memories in the last seven years are of the travels on the Spirit
of Christmas Tour that Stephen Hill and I do each year. With visits to dozens
of states in the US, and for the last two years to various cities in Europe,
Stephen and I have several memorable moments. I will list a few.
"Our host in Colorado who looks more like Santa than any person I have ever
seen. When he took us to the airport the morning following our concert, the
church van ran out of gas in eyeshot of the airport. "Santa" flagged down
a drywall hanger with two 20 dollar bills to secure our ride to the terminal.
"We hit a deer with our rental car in Wisconsin on the first day of deer
"We took a flight to Florida and our luggage did not arrive for over three
"One venue promised a great sound system. It had one microphone, and the
controls were in a closet in the next room.
"Stephen forgot that his carry-on bag contained a knife one day. To say the
least, when it was discovered, we were detained, and missed our flight.
"We did a television show. While watching the playback, we discovered that
Stephen's guitar was not in the mix. So, we asked to do the songs again,
and we did. This time, my guitar was not in the mix. So, with no time to
do it a third time, we left it!
"We were stuck in a plane on the tarmac in Chicago while a sold-out venue
in Virginia was waiting!
"One event near Louisville was a banquet. The food warmers and coffee pots
were plugged into the same circuit with the sound system, tripping the breaker
every 10 minutes or so of our concert.
"With over a dozen concerts per year, these are just a few of the episodes
we call the Spirit of Christmas Follies. But head and shoulders above these
times are the moments that we know we have encouraged folks during the Christmas
season. Christmas is difficult for many folks. For some it is the first Christmas
without a loved one lost that year. Some have said that our humor and songs
helped them through what is normally a depressing season. Yet others say
they were blessed to be reminded of the real meaning of Christmas. So, I
count it all joy to experience the trials we have encountered to know that
our music and message are resonating with folks who come to experience the
Spirit of Christmas!" Woody Wright
"I'll never forget the Christmas when Santa brought me my bike. I'd wanted
one for so long, begged for it and had no idea that this was to be the year.
"On this particular Christmas eve it was as impossible as ever for me to
fall asleep and stay asleep. I did finally get to sleep and woke up to find
that it was still dark, but I took a chance and got outta bed to look under
the tree. There it was, my green and white Western Flyer beauty! I have no
idea what time it was when I caught the silhouette of that bicycle, but I
do know it took me no time at all to steer it outside and begin riding as
daylight was breaking. I think I rode that bike almost ALL DAY. It was like
if I got off it might leave.
"The only thing to eclipse that elation was the joy on Mama's and Daddy's
faces as they watched their youngest enjoy sooooo much the fun of finally
having that bicycle that Daddy later told me that Santa had hidden in the
barn loft under some hay those last few days before Christmas eve."