Christmas Remembrances

December 21, 2018
by Martin Wiles

Isaiah 9:6 – For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NLT)

As I grow older, I yearn for the Christmases of my childhood.

Being the first grandchild in the family for the first four years of my life meant a great deal of spoiling — by parents and grandparents. Though I don't remember those years, pictures relay the joy and giving that took place. Prior to my paternal grandmother's retirement, she bought presents with abandonment and worked to make Christmas a special day for everyone — especially the grandchildren. Presents waist-high lay under and around the tree waiting for eager little hands to open them.

Christmas at my maternal grandparents' house was practical. They were more into the fellowship — telling stories, hunting, cooking, and eating — than the giving of presents. One or two gifts was all that I could expect.

When my giving grandmother retired and could no longer afford to buy mounds of presents, Mom took over the tradition and continued it until she retired. Now, my wife tries her best to keep the abundant giving alive. But things have changed.

My early Christmases were about togetherness. The togetherness lasted for hours — even days. They weren't pop-in visits from children and grandchildren. We hung around, talked, laughed, hunted, and watched ball games together. Never did I hear, "We can be there at ____, but we have to leave by ____."

In the midst of my childhood Christmases, we always remembered the reason that we were celebrating: to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. He overshadowed the presents rather than the other way around.

Blessings were said at my childhood Christmas meals. As at Thanksgiving, we remembered that God was responsible for all that we had and were enjoying.

My childhood Christmases were also times of joy — and not just over presents. We were glad to see each other, to celebrate Christ's birth, to eat a meal together, and to open presents — just to enjoy one another's company.

Divorces and remarriages have now changed the structure of our immediate and extended family, multiplying in-laws and grandparents and dividing our time into tiny increments that temper the joy of being together. Though some of the things from my early Christmases are missing, I still enjoy the Christmas season.

Don't let the changing seasons of your life steal the real meaning of Christmas. Remember the birth of the Saviour, and celebrate it with family and friends.

Prayer: Father, we celebrate the birth of Your Son — and giving — as the real meanings of the Christmas season. Amen.

About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Excellent devotional today Martin. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your family.


    May we always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. Amen and blessings to you and your family.


    Very touching! This brought tears to my eyes and evoked many happy memories! Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas to you and yours!


    Ah yes, Martin, Christmas past glitters in my memories, too. Yet expectation surrounds the upcoming day with a halo of hope. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.


    Hello,
    This was so enjoyable to read, I too would love to do my childhood Christmas memories again. One thing has not changed over the years, Jesus is the reason for the season and He is the best gift ever.
    God bless and Merry Christmas.


    Hi Martin,
    Due to the place I lived as a child, the Netherlands, and the time, WW2, and the fact that my maternal grandparents had 66 grandchildren, the giving of gifts, any time was not done.
    Also, at that time we did not get gifts at Christmas time, but rather when “Sinter Klaas” came on December 5th. Things have changed.
    I can relate to the celebration of the birth of Christ and that is what we did.
    We wish you and yours a Blessed Christmas and a good New Year.


    Good morning Martin,
    Thank you for this morning’s devotional which brought back memories of past Christmases. So true that things are different nowadays especially when the younger generation arrive for a family gathering and they all have their electronic device in hand, constantly clicking the buttons and checking messages. Our world has changed, but our devotion and faith remain that Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at this time, is our ever-loving Lord and Saviour.
    Blessings to you as you celebrate Jesus’ birth.
    (B.C.)


    Love the details of your childhood Christmases. So completely different from the isolated, lonely Christmases where the best present I could get is being ignored throughout the accelerated anger and fighting that marked the dreaded day, praying to be brought safely through without injury, hiding in a closet, sitting with the shoes, trying to keep my little brother safe. Even then, I knew there were Christmases like yours, out there. Maybe that knowledge made it worse. God had his purposes for both of us and He always listened to those prayers. My gratitude and thankfulness today are especially fueled by what once was and never will be again.


    Dear Martin Wiles,
    You wrote:
    Don’t let the changing seasons of your life steal the real meaning of Christmas. Remember the birth of the Saviour, and celebrate it with family and friends.
    I say, “Amen.” And, “Not just in season but also out of season.”
    Keep writing, for Jesus’ sake.

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