Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Favorite Christmas Memory

Donnetta over at My Quiet Corner is hosting Favorite Christmas Memories this week. I totally forgot about it -- I tell you, this wicked head cold that I mentioned yesterday has me in a fog!

Her memory is quite precious, and is very similar to one of my favorite childhood Christmas memories... beside my father making such a big deal about checking for Rudolph's poop and even pretending to step in it while my sister and I sat huddled together and giggling at the top of the stairs!

Anyway, my favorite Christmas memory was when (I believe) I was in 6th grade, and my sister was in 4th grade. It may have been later, but I'm not sure.

My dad worked for AFL-CIO - he was a union representative. His union happened to go on strike before Christmas time, which meant we would have no presents. We were new Christians at the time, and while we knew the real meaning of Christmas, to two very young girls, it was still all about about presents.

My father explained that we would not have much under the tree this year because there just was no money. In fact, we would each only have an outfit that my mother sewed for each of us from fabric she had previously purchased.

Then, either Christmas eve or the day before, the union gave each union member a large box that contained items to cook a full Christmas meal, along with some gifts for the children. I remember getting little toys and this silly stuffed-animal thing that you put in your boots to keep them upright... and even though I didn't have boots, I would hang it from my closet door know. It was bright and cheerful, and I appreciated it so much. I held on to that until I got engaged and had to pack up all my things to move. I got rid of it only because it was badly torn and ragged, but it was a sentimental piece that brought back lovely memories of being a happy little girl on Christmas morning.

I honestly believe that no matter how young or old you are, God always shows his love through the generosity of others. It is a lesson I never ever forgot, and is one reason why I always like to pick an angel tree tag or other such opportunity to give to a less fortunate child at Christmas time.

Having lost my job in November, and facing so many uncertainties, we did not participate with the angel tree giving this year, and I tell you... my Christmas season has been markedly different. I feel like it is a sacrifice I should have made anyway, and I feel like I've missed out on a blessing, so I will be helping give a few gifts for children in a family our church is sponsoring.

Hopefully, those children will be touched also, and will remember their gifts for years to come as a gift from someone who loved them with the love of Jesus.


Donnetta said...

Reading this brought a lump in my throat and tears to my eyes. Yes, so very similar to my own memory.

I was touched at how you kept your gift until you got married. A special reminder for sure!

THANK YOU for participating and sharing!!!

Barb said...

I love this special memory because I have one exactly like it. There was one Christmas (I was 12) when my dad wasn't working and with 6 kids, gifts just weren't going to happen. Christmas dinner wasn't going to happen either. And then the people from our church showed up. Same thing.

Like you, I try to do something special for at least one child, every year. If I could, I'd yank ALL the tags off every gift giving tree I came across and make sure not a single child had to have a sad Christmas.

ParkerMama said...

I so love your heart. Christmas isn't gifts, Christmas is what you make it, it's sharing love. Some of the most precious gifts are things we can't even see.

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Something my husband and I are trying to focus on the last two years is trying to limit the amount the children receive on Christmas. I have friends spending $400 on each child and am sickened by it and what their children's attitude regarding their gifts are. We are trying to teach our children that it is better to give than receive. I know some of the best lessons we learn as children come at a cost, but they are the memories we cling to.

Susanne said...

What a lovely post and memory, GiBee. It was very touching. And I love your heart, how you feel it is different because you didn't give and you are still willing to even though circumstances are different for you.