Tell Us Your Christmas Story… Please!

My Atlanta friend Jim Graham has a granddaughter–her first name is Graham; wonder why–who is so bright at the age of 9, she could qualify to be a McKeever! The ultimate accolade. Anyway….

This week, Jim told me something Graham did when she was 3 years old. “Darlene and I had gone overboard materialistically,” he said, “and bought her a ton of Christmas presents. On Christmas morning, she was opening her gifts. After unwrapping the third one, she looked at me and said, ‘That’s enough. Give the others to Baby Jesus.'”

Out of the mouths of babes.

If I were using that as a springboard for a Christmas sermon, I might take this approach: “It’s a mature person who knows how to say ‘That’s enough’. And yet, in our world, Christmastime seems to give people permission to indulge themselves in overeating, overspending, and overgiving, all the while fooling ourselves into thinking we’re somehow honoring Jesus Christ. How very foolish.”

That sermon would call for simplicity in our worship and our celebration of the birthday of Christ. I would surely work in this question from Isaiah 1:12, “When you come to appear before me, who has required this of you?”

Then, I would pick up on Graham’s suggestion: “Give the rest to Baby Jesus.” If that’s not a call for giving to the Christmas offering to help needy boys and girls throughout the world, as well as funding the work of the missionaries who cross the world taking the very message of Christmas, I don’t know what it is.

Thank you, Jim, and thank you God for Graham Bryant. I can’t wait to meet this child.

Now, here’s my question and an invitation to our readers…

Tell us your Christmas story. Not something you read, please, and most certainly not an email making yet another circuit around the globe. Give us your story. Maybe it’s something like the one Jim told of his granddaughter.

Maybe your story is a line you read, a quote you found, something you noticed while shopping, something that happened in your church, a great line a child uttered.

Share it with the rest of us please.

I’m preaching the Sunday morning service on December 23 (10:30 am) and the Christmas Eve Vespers Service (5:00 pm) at our church, the First Baptist Church of Kenner, and would love to have a new story or two.

Just click on “comment” below and type away.

8 thoughts on “Tell Us Your Christmas Story… Please!

  1. This didn’t happen at Christmas, but it IS a story of giving AND has my grandson at it’s heart.

    Eight year Jared visits Greenville every summer for a week to attend VBS at our church. He helped his PawPaw take up offering one Sunday. The attendance is small so they just walked the center aisle abd reached the plate over to those further in the pews, or the envelopes were passed to the person on the end. Jared’s great grandparents were on the far end of one of his rows. He didn’t see his great granddaddy put anything in the plate. He went out to the foyer and right back down the aisle where they were seated and held his plate out, asking, “Don’t you want to give your offering for Jesus?” (Actually, they had passed it in and the man on the end had put it in for him.)

    We told the preacher our financial worries would be over if he got Jared to collect each week.

    Lara Johnson, Greenville

  2. After a discussion with my children and my sister, I became very troubled about Christmas vs. A Happy Holiday. Why? I had to ask. Why, was I so disturbed? Why, was I unsettled in my spirit? And why, was I feeling angry? I truly did not understand, except that I knew there was something big about it… for me.

    I read today, for the first time about the origin of Christmas and how it is filled with controversy and compromise. It’s roots are very disturbing. I am realizing that the ways that I celebrate the Christmas holiday today is aligned with the world’s customs and traditions.

    I asked God to help me with understanding and give me clarity.

    He helped me to see that my anger wasn’t about others, but about myself. I was screaming loud that the “outsiders” were infringing on my precious celebration of Jesus birth. The Holy Spirit impressed on me, that I am claiming to be an”insider” yet, I am “doing” the same things as the “outsiders”…how do I differ from them? Like them I decorate the house, spend time with family and friends, buy gifts and eat a huge meal. Oh, I may offer a token “Happy Birthday” to Jesus on Christmas morning, or send Christmas cards with His picture on them, but at the heart of it, the fact of His birth does not impact the way I celebrate the day that Christians have set aside to observe the birthday of Jesus. I understand my anger, now!

    I actually said, in all of its’ absurdity, “Why are “they” buying gifts? We’re buying gifts because it is Jesus’ birthday.” On my birthday I “receive” gifts. Something seems askew here. Isn’t He the one who should be receiving the gifts?

    My prayer is that whether it’s December 25th, or any other day of the year, I want to use as many opportunities as possible to reflect on Jesus and His message of hope for all of us.

    I really want my Christmas to be nothing more than a simple, yet wonderful reminder of Christ’s humble beginning as a baby in this world. His birth merely set the stage for the power, glory, and salvation that would be revealed in His life, death, and resurrection!

    As time goes by, I am praying that my emphasis will change.

  3. Dear Joe,

    After a couple of your latest writings, I feel almost famous, by association. 🙂

    This is a Christmas story that I

  4. Joe,

    One of my most memorable Christmases was spent on the road. I was 20 or 21 years and, working/driving for a moving company. We had a client that had to move on the holiday due to a transfer. I was the only driver not married with children so I took the trip. This put my return trip home on Christmas day. That family had given me some food to take with me to eat on the way home. (there would be nothing open) I stopped in a gas station parking lot in Jasper AL to eat. A poor family in an old bad oil smoking, windows fogged up, dirty car pulled up to use a pay phone. There were several children in the car. You could just tell they did not have much. I got out and asked the Mother if I could share some fruit with the children. Although I was alone on Christmas day working, God gave me a way to share some of what I had with someone else’s need.

    Sharing has always been a big blessing to me each Christmas.

    Mathew 25: 40

  5. In the second church I served as pastor, there was a family with very little of this world’s goods. Mr. and Mrs. Guier were rich in love for their church and their young pastor and wife.

    They lived in a four-room building that would fit inside my present house, down a road composed of river and creek bed gravel. It was a little rough to maneuver my car down there at times. Inside the house a single light bulb hung from the ceiling in each room, and there was an open fire place. The couple were on in years and often unable to attend church. Sometimes I would pick them up and drive them to Sunday services.

    As I look back one of the greatest gifts we received that Christmas came from them. This would have been 1958 or 1959. Every time Anna and I called on them, they always wanted me to read the Bible and have prayer. That year, they presented to us a set of six glasses, wrapped the best they could manage. They had saved the glasses from 25 pound bags of flour. The glasses were frosted, clear at the top with green diamonds around the top. Snowflakes were scattered around the glasses, giving them a festive look. We took the glasses home and used them for years.

    These days, only two of the glasses remain. The others were broken in moving or in raising our children. As we look at them now, given a place of honor in our china cabinet, they remind us of a great love that Mr. and Mrs. Guier had for us. They gave us the best that they had.

    Sometimes when we would visit, they would hand me a dollar or two, and say, “This is for you and Mrs. Cole. It’s not for the church.”

    Writing this brings tears to my eyes, just remembering these who gave the best they had to their pastor and wife.

    And no, Joe, you cannot have one of the glasses. I wish I had shown them to you when you were here last Spring.

  6. Well, this one belongs to Sam Allen of Nashville’s “No Other Name” gospel singing group. He told it at Jasper, Alabama, last Sunday night. I asked his sister Laura to encourage him to post it, but evidently he hasn’t had time. So, I’ll tell it for Sam, as I recall it.

    “I grew up on a Christmas tree farm in central Florida. As a teenager, it was my job to jump up from the supper table when some customer pulled into the yard wanting a tree, and go help them select one. Then, I’d cut it down and shake it out, and often have to deliver it to their home.”

    “One time, this Yankee woman drove up and picked out a tree. I cut it down and was getting the information from her as to where to deliver it, when she said, ‘Oh, one more thing. Could you bring me some greens?'”

    “I thought, ‘Greens? You want greens?’ Now, we were a farm family and we had greens out in the garden, but this was a first. When I told Dad he said, ‘She asked for greens? We don’t even know her?'”

    The congregation at New Prospect Baptist Church was laughing at Sam’s story because they knew where this was going. To southerners, ‘greens’ means only one thing.

    Sam continued, “You can imagine the look on that woman’s face when I delivered her Christmas tree and presented her with a sack full of collards.”

    Someone commented, “Those collard wreaths just don’t hold up long, do they?”

    Of course, to that woman, ‘greens’ referred to the small limbs and leaves of the evergreens which she would arrange into some Christmas decoration.

    (If I were using that for a Christmas sermon, I’d probably let it illustrate either a) the mistakes we make about Christmas or b) the perishability of so much we do at this season. But you’ll think of other uses. Thanks, Sam, for a funny story.)

  7. Paster Joe,

    I’m Graham Bryant and I would also like to meet you!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! 🙂 <3

  8. Christmas.

    Slowly and quietly, not to wake mommy and daddy, the two little boys climbed from there bunk bed, opened quietly the door of their bedroom and walked carefully down the stairs.

    In the house was it quiet and outside dark, they came to look at the Christmas tree they bought with daddy on the parking lot near the mall. The Christmas tree they decorated with mommy, daddy and their big sister.

    The lights in the tree where not on now, it was not so pretty as on other times, on the table was the chandelier for nine candles, they forgot the name, it was such a difficult name.

    Daddy had told them that the meaning was that light of God had entered the world; Jesus the little Bethlehem child.

    All these things, all the decorations in the room where nice, but that was not where they came for, they came to see if the presents where all ready under the tree.

    Daddy promised

Comments are closed.