“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
What does Christmas mean to you?
From my earliest memories, it seems I’ve always known the true meaning of Christmas. My siblings and I were taught about Jesus from childhood, but truthfully, as a little girl, I didn’t have the maturity to fully understand the Greatest Gift of all until I was a bit older.
I did like the idea of Santa and always looked forward to the gifts he brought on Christmas Eve. We never waited until Christmas morning! That was just our family’s tradition.
There were many things we McDaniel’s looked forward to on Christmas Eve. Besides the wonderful food and gifts, we would also build a roaring bonfire for use in popping fireworks, or “firecrackers” as we called them. You’ve never lived until a firecracker goes off in your hand! Oh, that is so painful!!
One Christmas, after I knew where the presents came from, I remember my mother “accidentally” finding a $20 bill inside one of my dad’s old coat pockets in the closet. Although I was no more than 10 years old, I can still see the big smile on my mother’s face. You see, that was her Christmas miracle! Unknown to the kids, there was no money for gifts that year. Mother’s find assured her that each of her children would have a gift waiting for them under the tree on Christmas Eve!
Things didn’t cost much back in the dark ages. $20 would go a long way!! I don’t recall what I got for Christmas that year but have always remembered how excited I was that my baby brother got a big Texaco tanker truck.
My family was not wealthy by any means. We never went without a meal and had what we needed. As children, we somehow understood that our parents were doing the very best they could and we never complained—well, maybe I did when I tired of repetitive peanut butter sandwiches in my school sack lunch.
We were country people and I would not take anything for having grown up that way. Our parents taught us hard work ethics, patriotism, and respect for others. And we were taught about Jesus. Those are gifts that money can’t buy.
As I think back to Christmas 2020, the pandemic was in full swing and we weren’t able to gather as a family. Our table was bare and there was no rushing to get ready. It was different on so many fronts. Still, we were joyful because of the true meaning we held deep in our hearts.
For Christmas 2022, we wait with joyful anticipation for the gift of our family’s presence. We will enjoy a nice meal, watch the little ones beam with excitement, open gifts, and share good fellowship. We will greatly miss those who aren’t able to join us, and those who are celebrating in Heaven. We will always remember their valuable contribution to our family.
A long time ago, I learned that the true meaning of Christmas is NOT about opening presents. It’s about inviting Jesus, the greatest gift ever given to mankind into our hearts.
My prayer for family and friends everywhere is that you will gather with those you love; that you will take the time to reflect and renew your body, mind, and spirit; and that you will accept the Greatest Gift of all freely, humbly, and without reservation. Merry Christmas!