During the Christmas holidays, I cannot help but think about my Aunt Carol and Uncle Bob—two people who have had a tremendous impact on my personal and spiritual life. This family provided a stable, comfortable and Christian home during a very tumultuous time in my life. They shared their faith with me in so many ways. Most importantly they lived it.
Christmas at the Massengill’s home in Brookhaven, Mississippi, was my very favorite time and remains to be some of my fondest memories. I was always invited to stay the week before Christmas as my mother worked up until Christmas Eve. I looked forward to spending time with my cousins, Karen and Robb, and to being a part of this family.
The days leading up to December 25th were full of busyness but what I remember most was delivering presents to friends and neighbors. It seemed to me as though there were hundreds of houses to visit and gifts to exchange.
We never left the house to run an errand that we didn’t include a stop or two along the way to drop off “a little something.” And the back doorbell to their house never stopped ringing as neighbor after neighbor brought over treats or gifts.
This community-wide gift giving was what I really looked forward to perhaps even more than the gifts I would receive on Christmas morning. I was blessed to be a part of this special family.
This tradition of delivering gifts to friends and neighbors in the few days before Christmas has become one of my favorite parts of Christmas as an adult. I remember several years ago that I decided to make a meal rather than sweet treats for each of my friends and deliver it during those last few hectic days before Christmas.
I loved driving around Charleston dropping off these gifts. I often caught the recipient off-guard. There is such an intimacy experienced when you step into someone’s home especially when you have surprised them with your visit and disarmed them with a gift.
These unexpected visits resulted in slowing down and breathing…capturing a moment of peace and joy…showing love to and receiving it from others….
It was an opportunity to experience the real meaning of Christmas.
Have you had an opportunity to slow down and experience the real meaning of Christmas?