Like many others, Christmas is my favorite holiday. Other than the true meaning for the holiday—celebrating Jesus’ birth—family time is most important during this time. We celebrate the meaning of His birth all year long. God’s Spirit dwells in us and that, itself, is cause to celebrate every day!
Another aspect that makes Christmastime so special is that we allow ourselves time to slow down and actually enjoy the holiday. Many say it is a stressful time because of trying to get those perfect gifts. Believe me, I am a gift giver and just as important as the gift I am giving to someone is their reaction to the gift. I love to give joy to people, especially family!
Time in itself is a gift. If we will allow ourselves, we can slow down time to stop and enjoy the time we have with our family and friends. How many times do we go about our days so franticly that we seemingly do not even stop to breathe? Christmastime is a time to slow down and enjoy life with our families, even if that time is spent doing nothing productive.
Some of my favorite memories of our Christmastimes past are the surprises and joys of giving on Christmas morning. When we started New Life Austin, I had dreams and visions of what God was going to do. One of those visions was having a grand piano on the platform. I had mentioned it to my husband that someday it would be nice.
When we built the first building, we were in revival mode and continued to grow. All the church funds that had been saved had to go into building again. We were out of Sunday school rooms and needed more space. So, we began building—again.
When we were in Phase 3 of our building (which was the final sanctuary), there were so many projects that needed to be done to get into the new building that a grand piano was put on the back shelf. I guess a sound system was more important.
One Christmas morning, we had opened all our presents and everyone was enjoying the gifts and our time together when the doorbell rang. I went to the door and a truck had pulled into our driveway. The name on the side of the truck was Steinway Gallery. I could not figure out what was going on. The man at the door asked if I was Connie Bernard and I said yes. “Sign here, please,” he said.
I then watched as they proceeded to unload a brand-new baby grand piano! I was elated and shocked and surprised all at the same time. I looked at my husband and said, “What is this all about?” He told me that he felt bad that he could not fulfill my wish for a grand piano at the new sanctuary so he was hoping that if I had one at home, that would suffice. And suffice it did! I told him that he had collected many brownie points for that gift!
Another fun memory was when I could not figure out what to get my husband for Christmas. I enjoy giving gifts that surprise the receiver. It was always hard to surprise my husband because he usually had a small list for Christmas and most of the items on the list were, you guessed it, books!
I had just about given up on what I could give him that he would enjoy but would also be a surprise or unexpected. Then it dawned on me! What he really wanted was—books. What gave him enjoyment was—books. What he looked forward to getting was—books. So, books it was! He had twenty-six books on his list. I slowly started buying books, and more books, and more books. I bought all twenty-six books and wrapped each book individually. He definitely was surprised! I had fun surprising him, and he got what he wanted for Christmas.
The most important gift we can give our children is the wonder of Jesus’ birth. It is fun to give gifts during Christmastime, but we need to always remember the joy of His coming, the wonder of His birth, and what it means still today. We will always find sweet, treasured moments during the Christmas holiday season. Time spent with family and friends is truly to be treasured, but nothing can compare with the most important event at Christmas, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I pray you find many treasured moments and make wonderful memories this holiday season but keep Him at the top of your list!