The bottom of the tree is now bare where presents once flooded into the living room floor. The garbage this week contained multiple yards of ripped wrapping paper. The cookies and candy overflow in what should be the fruit bowl. The new clothes are being worn everywhere and the house is little by little returning to its 11-month colors.
Christmas 2013 was definitely one of my favorite Christmases in the 21 that I have had. I had a lot of new experiences with this Christmas. For starters, I had to choose, rehearse, and put on a Christmas cantata for a church choir that hadn’t done a cantata in 7 years (just so you know, they did marvelous). I pretty much decorated the whole house by myself, with a little help from the siblings. I received more Christmas cards that I ever have before. I suppose that comes with being on staff at a Baptist church. And then there were the gifts.
All I can say is I am blessed. Santa Claus was good to me. I won’t ramble on about the things I received because you could really care less. However, one gift that I received really stood out among the others.
I woke up on Christmas morning around 8 o’clock. The night before had been rather laid back. First, we went to the Christmas Eve Candlelight service at FBC Adamsville. Once that was over, we gathered with some friends at Dwayne and Carols Smith’s house for soup and sandwiches. About 9:00, we headed for Mud Creek. Mama did some laundry. Dad gathered all the gifts to be wrapped in his room. Natalie and Quinten retired to their rooms to watch some Christmas movies while I did a few dishes and tidied up the kitchen. I took to bed around 11:00 I suppose. When I woke, I got the siblings up and we went in the living room. The first thing I noticed were three shoe boxes in front of the tree with notes for each of us. We were instructed to open these first. My note said, “Logan, you are so blessed. Use this gift to remind you of those who will not be receiving as much as you. -Dad” I open the box and in it were items similar to what we had packed in our 5 Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes this year. Things like toothpaste, pencils, sticky notes, Tic-Tacs, a teddy bear with a note that said, “Logan, you will never be too old for me.” I nearly cried as I went through the box. It made me not even want to open the rest of my gifts.
With each year that passes, I realize the wonderful things that make Christmas great. My personal favorite part of Christmas is Advent. If there were a time in the Bible I wish I could be a part of, it would definitely be the two days leading up to the birth of Christ. To be in the field with the shepherds when the angels burst through the heavens and begin singing would be an incredible experience. But this year, I came to a deeper realization of how immensely blessed I am. I am a giver. I love to make people’s lives better, even in the smallest of ways. OCC is definitely one way to do that and it’s one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Maybe that’s why the shoe box meant so much to me.