The Christmas Star

Our grandchildren usually decorate our tree during Thanksgiving, but we didn't get to share the holiday with them this year.

There was just a moment when my husband and I talked about not going downstairs and bringing all the Christmas decorations up.

However, that moment disappeared when I heard my favorite Christmas song; "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the most famous poet of the 19th century, was inspired to write the poem, we know now, as the Christmas carol, on Christmas da...

Read More

Memories of Christmas

What Christmas memories stand out in your mind?  My favorite memories are the smell of oranges, the crackling sound coming from our fireplace, and the sight of candy-striped material on the floor in my mother’s sewing room.

Christmas was the only time we had oranges. Regardless, their nostalgic sweet, citrus smell still stirs up memories for me regardless of the time of year. When we lived in South Texas, I loved it when it was time to go to orange groves and pick oranges. I could hardly wait until we'd get into the car and begi...

Read More

Giving The Gift of Life

Dear Santa

“Before you get too busy with all the gift lists, we need your help. We will ask you for a special gift.

We have a friend. He is an Native Indian. He went to fight in the war, in a nation called Vietnam. He's a very tall man, long hair, skinny and dark like some of us Latinos.

Tom does not speak Spanish. He speaks Indian and English, but he is a nice man.

Our friend's name is Tom. Now that he's a little more sick, he went to see his family in Arkansas. But we know you can find him.


Read More

The Best is Yet To Come

As I watched the second candle (the candle of peace) of the Advent season is lit in church on Sunday, I thought of the fork my friend gave me at the very beginning of this Christmas season.

It was something no one had ever given me before–a set of silverware, yes, but not just one fork. However, with the dainty fork that I can wear as a pendant, she gave me a beautiful story to go with it.

It seems there was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. As she was "getting...

Read More

Imagination is a Gift

"I don't know what happened,” she said. Suddenly I had this entire white wall as my canvas and a palette of colors to play with.  I lost track of time and let my imagination go wild."

It started as an artistic effort to paint a small mural of flowers on a little girl's wall. However, my daughter said when she stepped out of our granddaughter's room two hours later, there was an entire garden scene, complete with an apple tree, sunflowers, and a furry little bunny sitting beneath it all.

I thought about all the tim...

Read More

The Santa Claus Story

My husband and I were sitting in a Burger King, having lunch, when a lady approached us and asked, "Sir, would you mind coming into the playroom with our children?" We looked up at her and back towards the room where about 20 little children's faces were pressed against the glass looking our way. "The children think you are Santa Claus," the lady said.

My husband had a white beard and was wearing a Santa hat and a red shirt. He smiled and said, "Sure!" And off he went with a big smile and a little bounce in his step.


Read More

What Grieving Parents Feel at Christmas

There was a quiet sadness that filled the room. Each mother there shared a special memory of her child. It was a comfortable place to be because it was all right to cry.

My friend had invited me to join her and a group of mothers who gather each Christmas to share memories of their children who have passed away.

Warm hands reached out for mine as I entered the group. I listened as they shared stories of their children. It had been longing for some since they had held the warm hands of their children, but the happy memories they...

Read More

Little Metal Christmas Trees

It was small, about 2 ½ feet high, with green branches and a different color fiber optic light at each thistle’s end. It sat in a window of our house that faced the street on a small table I found in Mexico. The tiny twinkly lights were constantly changing, and it became a brilliant display every evening as darkness arrived. Humble as it was, it represented Christmas for us.

Of course, our children were not that impressed with our little artificial tree. They grew up with the smell of pine saturating the house each year ...

Read More

A Final Christmas Gift

How do you pick a Christmas gift for someone who only has a few days or weeks to live? That's the dilemma I had when I got the news that my brother, Gerald, who was in stage four brain cancer, had one last request–to celebrate Christmas with all of his brothers and sisters together.

He asked my sister to take him to the mall and push him from store to store, picking out Christmas gifts for each one of us.  This would be the last time my family and I would have with my older brother, who had been given this sad news.


Read More

Shotgun Christmas

We always pretended to be asleep. It was a game we played with our dad on Christmas Eve. He told us he couldn't signal for Santa until we were sound asleep in our beds.

As soon as he announced it was time to go to bed, we would run to our rooms, change into pajamas and jump into bed to wait for him to come to say goodnight.

He'd lean down close to our faces to see if our eyes were closed. Sometimes I could feel his scratchy beard brush against my cheek. He turned his face sideways so he could listen to our breathing, th...

Read More

A Curious George Christmas

If you are making a list and checking it twice, I think I may have found a children's movie that, in a very simple way, may help you fill your Christmas list.

“The Very Monkey Christmas” is a Christmastime story about a problem Curious George and The Man with the Yellow Hat were having. They must both find out what each other wants for Christmas.

Curious George is an American animated educational children’s television series based on the children’s book series of the same name that ran from 2006...

Read More

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, and everything was going wrong. There was no heat to warm the small trailer where we lived. That was because the butane tank that held the gas was empty.

We called the gas company, but they refused to come out on holiday to fill the tank, even though the temperature would only reach 15 degrees. My husband’s job had brought us to the small Georgia town. He was the new pastor of a small missionary church.

It was so cold in the trailer that the children had to wear their coats and glo...

Read More

Making Room For the Important Things

Recently I heard a beautiful song called “Is There Room.” It made me think of a time when we were invited to a friend’s home in south Texas to share in their family’s Christmas Posada.

Posada is the Spanish word for “inn,” and the Posadas Navideñas recalls the events leading up to the Nativity of Jesus. Las Posadas is a nine-day religious festival celebrated throughout Mexico. It begins on December 16 and ends on Christmas Eve.

It is a way Christian families commemorate Joseph and Mary’...

Read More