"I will never forget the Christmas of 1968. My little sister Wendy was three
years old and awaiting death, having already gone through chemotherapy and
cobalt radiation. She was hospitalized and we didn't think she could come
home anymore. Just our parents and elder brother were able to go up to see
her regularly, while the rest of us could only occasionally could go up and
see her. But on Christmas Eve, Dad came home with a blanket, and went down
into the basement. We knew it must be a surprise, and a few minutes later
he called all of us downstairs. He then unveiled our little sister with an
enormous smile! We all chattered and laughed with joy! I will never forget
that Christmas. It is one of my most precious memories, and it still makes
the tears flow!" Cathy Daae, Bromhead, SK, Canada
"A part of our family's Christmas celebration is singing Christmas Carols
by candlelight. Thirty plus years ago, my two single aunts began purchasing
or making candles for each person. They were either a souvenir from a vacation
or handmade from familiar material. The candles were placed at each place
setting. Then after our meal, the sixty to eighty candles were lit, lights
were turned off, and acapella four-part harmony singing began. Then each
person takes their candle home as a remembrance. Though my aunts are in their
80s, the next generation has continued their tradition for them."
"My husband and I had always longed for children. We lost a baby after being
married a little over a year, and I was never able to conceive after that
event. Doctors did surgury and told me I had a condition that would make
having a baby all but completely impossible. For twelve years it seemed they
were right and life went on. My husband and I had some struggles in our marriage
and were blessed with a trip to Panama City Beach, FL for a few days. The
Lord brought healing in our relationship, and that Sunday morning we attended
a little Baptist church in town, where a lady talked with us after the service.
She asked if we had children, and I tearfully explained our situation. She
prayed with us and we sensed the Lord's presence. On the way home from our
vacation I felt ill, and was convinced I had caught a virus; boy, had I!
Ha! Deborah was born on Christmas Eve of that same year! I sang one Christmas
carol after another, mostly to myself to bear with the pain of labor. Never
have I worked so hard for any Christmas gift, but no gift has brought me
so much joy... except, of course, that first Child's whose birth we celebrate
on Christmas Day!" Amanda Fontaine
"One special Christmas memory for me is the way one of my pastors celebrated
Christmas Eve. Near the end of the service, all the lights were turned off.
This was a big auditorium that easily held about 1000 people. Then the pastor,
who was on the stage, lit a candle explaining that Jesus was the Light of
the world when He came on Christmas. He then lit the candles of the elders
explaining that we need to take His light to the world. Then, one by one,
row by row, everyone's candle was lit. The look and the significance of that
one candle and what it looked like when all were lit was magnificent! The
beauty was beyond words. I am pretty sure that we sang Silent Night but I
can't say for certain. The beautiful sight of the darkness turning into light
touched my heart!" Corrie
"One of my favorite memories with my family was during the years when the
quartet was doing television programs live, so we all had other work. Mine
was in radio, which meant I had to be at the station for early sign on and
that meant I could not be home for Christmas morning. That's when plan "B"
came along. Plan "A" was always to remember that Christmas was to celebrate
the birth of Christ, but plan "B" still included Santa, so all the little
ones knew was that Santa would bring their presents to the radio station.
We had a wonderful Christmas with Mother, the three children and Daddy as
we opened our gifts between song selections on live radio." Gerald
Williams (Melody Boys Quartet)
"A little Joy came into my life twelve years ago on Christmas day. I had
lost my husband by sudden death in 1997. My life was dramatically changed
and it was the hardest Christmas I had ever had without him. The next year
I worked at a retirement community for twelve hours on Christmas day. My
family lived one hour away and called to tell me they wanted to bring me
a Christmas meal since I was unable to be with them. I told them not to do
this for me but they insisted. When they came, my sister handed me a basket,
said "here is your meal" and grinned. I pulled back the towel on the basket
and there was a little five week old Yorkshire Terrier. I was not expecting
this and cried my eyes out. I named her "Joy" because it was Christmas day
and my sweet family knew I was alone and how hard it was for me. She is twelve
years old now and still "my little Joy" and has brought me so much happiness.
With Jesus Christ in my life and my little dog still with me I will never
forget that Christmas. 'Joy to the World the Lord has come'." Carol
"A unique part of our Christmas Celebration is "Love." My wife Joann has
had Alzheimer's for the last 10 years and the only thing she can relate to
is love. So I tell all of my children and grandchildren not to bring any
gifts because if you can't bring love, you don't have anything to give her.
Love is what Christmas is all about anyway. We read the Christmas story and
pray and the great grandchildren get gifts and we all enjoy that. My favorite
Christmas song is "Christmas At Calvary" because that is where the greatest
gift of love was given." Jerry Rhodes, Tulsa, OK
"One Christmas when my two sisters and I took piano lessons, we somehow got
the privilege of decorating the teachers' Christmas tree! Even though it
was a tinsel tree it was still great to be able to do something we thought
was helping her out, since she was getting up in years. Another of my favorite
things to do at Christmas was to go Christmas caroling. I went caroling with
my "all girls" 4-H club and also with my church. It always thrills my soul
to be able to sing the good old fashioned "true to the word" Christmas carols!"
"Our youngest son, his wife, and 3 children, live in Winnipeg, Manitoba,
and this Christmas memory is what they as a family have done to celebrate
Jesus birth. When the children were toddlers, they acted out the story
of the Nativity every Christmas Eve. Since there are two girls close in age,
they had to take turns being Mary, and our grandson was Joseph each year.
They wore costumes bathrobes, a towel for Josephs head covering &
a shawl for Mary. Their Dad read the Christmas story from Luke while Mary
carefully placed Jesus, a favorite doll, in the manger, with Joseph hovering
nearby. The children are teens now, but its a memory they will have
in their hearts forever." Marlene Doerksen, Port Rowan, ON,
"Theres not a particular song that I think about at Christmas, because
I love them all! What I do remember fondly, though, is our Christmas Cantatas!
I starting singing in them when I was 13 or so, and I always had to stand
by my grandma, so I could make sure I got the alto part right. We practiced
and practiced, and on performance day, I was always so nervous and excited!
We all raised our voices in praise and adoration for the Newborn King! It
was thrilling! There is nothing like the harmonious sound of many voices
raised in song, singing of Jesus birth." April Hale
"Traditionally the Pastor Bill family at Christmas has added a birthday cake
for Jesus. This tradition was passed to us by Karen the Godmother of our
children. But this past Christmas was different through a childs eyes.
Erik is four years old and this was his first Christmas where he was able
to put all the pieces together. He learned that all the presents were not
for him, to respect the decorations, enjoy giving as much as receiving and
the following statement that only a child would speak!
"Grandma Carol was busy after dinner preparing the birthday cake for Jesus
and setting the table. With matches in hand, she was interrupted by Erik.
'Grandma,' Erik said as he pulled on grandmas dress. 'Grandma,' he
insisted as he gave a second tug. 'Yes Erik,' grandma answered. Erik looked
up at grandma with his big eyes. 'Grandma, when is he coming?' Grandma was
caught off guard. 'Erik, who are you talking about everyone is here?'
Without hesitation he answered, 'Jesus.'
"Erik in his innocence had captured todays verse that was spoken by
Jesus 2,000 years ago. No excuses, no confusion, no procrastination. Purely
spoken from the lips of an innocent child! Such childish anticipation should
be part of my every day. To the point that when I awake each day I say, 'Lord,
is today the day? Is this the day for the glorious return of your son the
Lord Jesus Christ?'
"Just as Erik watched as Grandma prepared the cake and then set the table
in anticipation of the party, so am I to be in anticipation for the return
of Jesus today!" Pastor Bill Mantel