“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (II Corinthians 9:15)
“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in truth.” (I John 3:4)
For as long as I can remember, Christmas meant two things: family and celebrating Christ’s birth.
My parents always kept the birth of Christ as the focus of our Christmas season. One way they did this was by gathering us all up to attend our church’s Christmas Eve service.
Any other plans of dinner, gift opening, etc., would be secondary to going to the service. As active members of church, what made it special was not that it was the rarity of the occasion. Rather, it was being together with our church family celebrating Emmanuel, God with us, that made this my favorite tradition.
So, it was especially difficult, in 1991, that as Thanksgiving that year passed, it was apparent that my mother, a strong Christian and wonderful mother, was slipping away. My precious mother died on Christmas Eve. While we grieved the loss of having her here with us, we knew she was in the presence of Jesus.
After I married Tim, we also determined to keep the coming of Emmanuel at the center of our Christmas celebration. From the time our son was conceived, Tim read scripture to him, and we prayed daily that Hayden would trust Christ early in life. The answer to our prayers was realized in November 2004 when Hayden prayed to receive Christ as his personal Savior in our home.
After making it public in church a few Sundays later, we began looking for a date for baptism. What an indescribable joy it was to be with all our family on Christmas Eve witnessing Hayden follow Christ in believer’s baptism! That was one of the last times we would have the opportunity to worship with Tim’s father, 90 at that time.
Any sadness that tries to creep in from my losses through the years is overshadowed by the gratitude I have in knowing that those who have passed (including my dear Tim two years ago), as well as those of us here now all have eternal life with God!
- What do you do to keep Christ the focus of your Christmas holidays?
- How has God demonstrated His grace to you personally even in the midst of suffering?
Pam Greene is Director of Pathways Counseling Center. She and her late husband have three grown children, Kelly, Holly, and Hayden. Pam enjoys hiking and traveling, especially to Annapolis to visit Hayden!