Every Christmas Eve we took baths and dressed in warm pajamas and waited in front of the fireplace for our Dad to come home from bringing USPS Christmas Cheer.
Then the fun would begin, after Dad ate a quick evening meal. He opened the Bible and began reading Luke 2:1, In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
We listened to the story of when Jesus was born, sitting by the Christmas tree. We had family prayer. We eyed the tall oatmeal box, waiting until we could have some of Grandma’s peppernuts. Much easier to say than Pfeffernusse or Papaneit. Bite-sized spicy cookies. Each Mennonite family added their favorite spices. Mother had her own favorite recipe.
After we each recited a brief Christmas scripture verse or sang a song, we all sang Silent Night and Away in the Manger. And then we opened gifts and ate Grandma Suderman’s peppernuts.
One year we drove to Kansas to Grandpa and Grandma’s farm and said our pieces for our grandparents. I found out on that trip what family prayer is. We kneeled around the room. Curious, I finally peeked and saw my parents, uncles and aunts and grandparents all kneeling, hands clasped, eyes closed, and saw many feet pointed to the center of the room like a giant prayer flower praising God.
In 1948, my brother and I both attended Midwest Bible College in Oklahoma City. It was arranged that our parents with Gene, would pick us up to drive to Grandpa and Grandma’s farm.
That is when I learned many things about Christmas. It isn’t the tree, it isn’t the peppernuts, it isn’t a warm fire, it isn’t Dad reading the story from Luke 2. Christmas is all about Jesus and how He loved us enough to leave the Joy of Heaven to come and teach us how much God loves each one of us.
That was seventy-three years ago. Each year I learn more about the celebration of the birth of Jesus and what it means to those who believe, trust, and delight in Him.
And then I read Zephaniah 3:17, The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.
Can you hear His Voice quieting us with His Love, when we hear the breeze in the trees, or the song of the birds He created? All creation knows our Lord God is of Love and does His bidding…
Thankful for the memories of childhood and the blessing of parents who loved Jesus with their whole hearts.