A few years ago, inspired by my book “A Simple Christmas,” I asked listeners of my radio show to share their own favorite Christmas memories. Last year, to let my staffers and myself enjoy some time off with our families, we dug into the archives to share some of those wonderful stories with my newsletter/website readers. Since we have many more subscribers now, I thought I would share them with you again, along with some more that have never run before. I hope they’ll add some extra joy to your holiday season!
If you have a treasured family Christmas story you’d like to share in the comments, I’d love to read it. Please be advised that by doing so, you grant us the right to share your story in the future in various media. For instance, if you have a great story like the ones I’m sharing this year, I might lift it out of the comments and share it with everyone next year.
We’ll be back with updates on the news after the holidays. Don’t worry, if anything major happens, I’ll put down my Christmas ham or stop playing with my grandkids to comment on it (but it will have to be EXTREMELY major!)
Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!
As families start to gather from far and near on Christmas Eve, this story perfectly illustrates how nothing can keep us apart from the ones we love at this blessed time of year.
A listener named Phyllis wrote that it was Christmas Eve, 1942. A young woman was waiting, pregnant and alone, for her husband of 4 months, who'd been drafted into the Army and was training to be a pilot somewhere in the Arizona desert. He had written to her that he couldn't get leave, so they would not be together on their first Christmas as husband and wife. Refusing to let herself get discouraged, she kept a light on in the window as she wrapped a few gifts.
Meanwhile, he was way off in Arizona, quietly reading letters from her, when his sergeant came into the barracks and asked what he was doing there on Christmas Eve. When he heard about the soldier’s pregnant wife, the sarge gave him permission to go home. But that was just the first obstacle down.
Christmas means a whole lot more
This story shows us that Dr. Seuss was right: Christmas is not something that comes from a store. Christmas means a whole lot more.
Tina from California wrote that she was a struggling single mom for many years. She managed to keep a roof over her daughter and son's heads. But there was no money for the Christmas extravagances many families enjoy. They had to be creative and "make do."
Instead of buying cards, they'd call relatives and sing carols to them over the phone. And instead of buying fancy Christmas treats, they'd go into the kitchen and make donuts out of Pillsbury biscuit dough, and sweeten and decorate them with cinnamon and sugar. Tina said that for years, Christmas wasn't a good memory for her. All she remembered about those Christmases was being poor.
I wanted to make sure you also read this story:
Warning: the following story is not for the weak of stomach!
One thing everyone loves about the holidays is all the great foods we indulge in only once a year. Every family has its special dishes that simply must be on the table, from oyster dressing to yams with tiny marshmallows. But sometimes, they don’t make for a great combination, on the plate or in your stomach.
Kevin from Maryland wrote me that he grew up in a Norwegian family that always served the notorious fish dish, lutefisk, which he jokingly called, “the piece of Cod that passes all understanding." (The recipe involves soaking a piece of cod fish in lye for three days. Seriously.)
“My mother, a fine teetotaling Christian who prided herself on never having alcohol in the house, was appalled the day my uncle brought a six-pack of beer as his contribution to the Christmas meal. To my mother’s horror, my father graciously accepted the libation. And so, in sullen silence, the family dinner was served...the traditional lutefisk and Godless beer.
I remember the smirk on my uncle's face as he began to eat the fish dish and wash it down with beer. My father, at the other end of the table shared in the merriment, while my poor grim-faced mother tried to remain polite...though sitting next to her, I was certain that she was asking God to strike her kin with righteous retribution.”
Now, at this point, Kevin went into some clinical details about the chemical reactions of the digestive system that I won’t relay here. Suffice to say that about half an hour into the meal, his dad and uncle suddenly excused themselves and bolted from the table. They both spent a miserable night of gastric distress, much to his mom’s quiet satisfaction.
Kevin said that was the Christmas he learned that mixing fish cured in lye with beer creates a volcanic reaction in the stomach similar to mixing vinegar and baking soda. He said it was also the year he learned that God answers prayers (his mother’s, at least.) And He's not above using science in working His will.
I want to thank Kevin for that unique story. While most of my listeners’ stories touched the heart or the funny bone, his was the only one that touched the digestive system.
Bible Verse of the Day (KJV)
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
- John 16:33
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