"I grew up as a PK, or preachers kid, so going to church was nonnegotiable,
but I have grown to know what a blessing that was! Every Christmas the church
presented goody bags filled with fruit, nuts and candy to members
and visitors after the evening Christmas drama. As a PK, it was a given that
we would be at every church event and we would help in whatever capacity
needed. We always ended up filling the goody bags. We would line up the bags
and drop our assigned goody in each bag, singing Christmas carols
at the top of our lungs. At the end of the evening drama, we would stand
at the exit and eagerly hand each person their bag. Times were hard and for
many that simple goody bag was the only gift received. To this
day, the smell of fruit brings back memories of our production line
and the joy of giving." Donna Buckner, Snow Camp, NC
"I'll never forget the Christmas of 1968 when I opened a Christmas gift from
my boyfriend and it was a 5x7 picture of this handsome man I would marry
the following May. Tears came to my eyes and ran down my face. What a surprise.
We have been happily married for 40 years, have three children and five
grandchildren. We are truly blessed." Norma Cliff, NB,
"I'll never forget the Christmas when, newly married and living in Montgomery,
Alabama as my husband was in the Air Force, we did our Christmas shopping
there, meager as it was. I bought a print dress for my Mother. We came home
to West Virginia for the holidays and I took the gift to her home and asked
that she not open it til we were there. To my surprise when I walked in at
a later time my Mom was wearing the dress! Of all things, my sister had purchased
the same dress, with very minor differences, here in the Charleston, West
Virginia area! It was fun watching her open my gift with the same dress in
it. Who says sisters don't think alike?" Iris Finch, Nitro,
"My boy friend Gene and I had been dating for over a year and we had a date
on Christmas Eve. Several people were at the church packing food baskets
for the needy in the neighborhood. Gene suggested that before we went to
the movie, we go by the church to see the Christmas decorations. When we
got to the sanctuary he wanted to sit down and look at the decorations. After
we sat down he asked me for his class ring back. Well I thought this was
the end for us. I was a little suprised because I thought our relationship
had gotten pretty serious. I gave him his ring back and just sat there. Then
he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box. He pulled out a beautiful
ring and asked me to marry him. Needless to say, I said yes. We have been
married for 55 years, with four wonderful children and their families."
"I have a funny Christmas memory. We were pastoring a small church at the
time so we used everyone we had in the church Christmas program. Our 9 year
old daughter was playing Mary in the children's part. She was so nervous.
We were in the car on our way to the play trying to explain to her the importance
of her role, how Mary was so young and not married yet.
I asked her how she would feel if all of a sudden an angel stood in front
of her and said "Kim, you are going to have a baby!" How would she act? What
would she say? My six-year-old son Jimmy raised up and said "I know, I know!"
Then, in his best Gomer Pyle voice, yelled "Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!"
My name is Sandra Dunn and that little boy yelling surprise was Jimmy Dunn,
lead singer for Perfect Heart." Sandra Dunn
"Christmas became very special when my first granddaughter was 18 months
old. I had talked to her the entire time my daughter-in-law carried her.
I would place my hand on her mother's belly and just talk to her. After she
was born she would recognize my voice, even in a crowded room. But that Christmas
she brought every gift, got up on my lap and opened all her presents. Christ
is still the reason for the season, but it really is special to be with children
and grandchildren, family and friends." Theo Davis, Houston,
"My name is Reggie Brann from Warsaw, Virginia. Back in 1981, my wife, Sharon
and I were spending Christmas eve night at my parents home. The next day,
of course was Christmas, and we were going to tell them my family we were
expecting our first child. Eager with anticipation, I wasn't able to sleep
and got up while everyone else was still sleeping. I found some paper that
night and wrote the following:
"Christmas isn't Christmas
Without a surprise
So we have one for you
That wets and cries.
"Your gift won't arrive
By sleigh or reindeer
But probably by car
A cute little dear.
"All cuddly and soft
A kitten it's not
You'll love it the same
No doubt a lot.
"We weren't prepared
It surprised us too
And in about seven months
Things will be new.
"Our lives will be touched
By a bundle of joy
We know it won't lack
Ever a game or a toy.
"We love you so much
Mom and Dad
For making our lives
Happy, not sad.
"Because of you
And the way we were trained
This one will grow up
Very much the same.
"So, in closing now
This truth, not fable
Loudly we yell
'Set another place at the table'
"Our first child, Matthew Taylor Brann was born the following July. Now at
28 years old, he and his wife, Jessica, will bring to our home for his first
Christmas, our new grandson Taylor. We, too, have set another place at the
table. Paul, I am most richly blessed." Reggie Brann