Moments are blessings, but how many of those moments do we stop to cherish and remember, and how many are rolled off our shoulders as unimportant and insignificant?
There are so many things that just make a Christmas season. It is seriously hard to just narrow the list down to a couple activities, but some of my favorites are: Christmas baking, shopping, homemade present making, singing Christmas songs, a cup of hot chocolate and a fire, advent, Christmas tree decorating, decorating the house… I could go on and on and normally would, except this year God gave me a different idea of the highlight of my holiday season. I never before truly realized the medicine and joy a single memory could bring a person.
Every year many random Christmas memories jump into my head at unexpected times, and with great joy I relate them, without realizing the importance of the joy they bring each season. The stories of my early Christmases, and even the stories of the Christmases of my parents and grandparents are devoured and stored away lovingly. It isn’t unusual to walk through our house and hear someone ask, “Do you remember the time…” or “…like that one Christmas where…” but never before had I realized the importance of these memories to me.
I absolutely loved sharing in some of the miracles of the many amazing occurrences God’s given each of us in the few holiday seasons we’ve experienced. God definitely works wonders in mysterious ways, and when we are joyously reminded of a special, cherished memory, we should stop and thank God for His works. Yes, for His present works, but also His works He has done in the past.
Now, everyone here at Joyfully You welcomes you to share in each of our fondest holiday moments and memories God has gifted our families. We hope you enjoy them just as much as we do!
Deuteronomy 18: 18-19
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among your fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I commanded Him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.” __________________________________
Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. From the music and sweet smells floating around the house to the special stories and movies you delight in. From the joy and love of being with family and friends to teasing your siblings about what you bought them, to even just decorating the Christmas Tree and home. As one of my favorite Christmas songs goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
One of my favorite memories is almost any time my family and friends carol. I’m constantly singing around my home, and I LOVE music. Caroling in the town where our church resides is always a blast! I love all the lights and decorations, the ability to chat with friends while walking between houses, and the hot chocolate and cookies waiting for us back in the church. While this is indeed fun, my favorite times of caroling have been in Nursing homes. It’s such a joy to be able to share some Christmas joy and love with older people, and two weeks ago, the last time we caroled there, we had an entourage by the end.
A couple years ago, my family went up to my grandparents in Pennsylvania a few days earlier than normal so we could actually share Christmas day together. It was so warm in Pennsylvania that year that we took walks around our grandparent’s neighborhood all through that week, and once, while viewing the neighborhood on Christmas Eve, we saw people washing their cars!!! And that very same day, on our way to a Christmas Eve service, we passed a man riding a bicycle with short sleeves and shorts!
I’m normally a very cold blooded person and I am always the first to get cold, but even I was able to take off my coat and push up my sleeves. We even played outside with no shoes on, if my memory serves me correctly! It was quite humorous and memorable!
I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and are able to make many new memories! Enjoy your break from school! I sure am!!!
– Julianne K., Crafter & Hair Stylist on Joyfully You
Almost every year at Christmastime, my grandparents, who lived in Kansas, would send a huge box of already wrapped presents up to our home in Ohio since we couldn’t be with them. One year, the box arrived and one of our parents hid the big box before us kids could see it. We wondered where on earth our grandparents’ box could be?
Would they be sending us presents at all this year?
When Christmas Eve arrived, I still wondered what on earth my parents had up their sleeves for us that year, and where my grandparents’ presents were. I woke up to my little sisters (I have four of them) jumping on their beds and waiting anxiously for my parents to call us all down to our school room/living room where the Christmas tree +all of our presents were. (On Christmas Eves, we weren’t allowed out of our rooms to even go to the bathroom without dashing across the hall and running back, careful not to see anything!)
We got dressed, and us girls and boys all waited for a little while upstairs. What I didn’t know was that my little sister believed in Santa Claus. In our house, Santa Claus is not a person we talk about often. I don’t think any of us ever believed in him and my parents never tried to teach us about him. But my little 3-year sister did. And what I didn’t know was that she had heard something.
Coming down the stairs, we saw lots of presents under the tree, including lots of brown-paper wrapped ones with little cute bells tied on them. They were from our grandparents! We just hadn’t seen the box that year!
But my little 3-year old sister had heard mom and dad bringing those presents down the hall with the bells attached. Thinking it was Santa Claus on the roof with the reindeer, she was awe-stricken that he really DID exist. Later, when I found out that she believed this, I explained gently to her about my grandparent’s presents. She accepted that, but it taught me a lesson. Little kids believe almost everything they hear, so I’d have to be extra careful in the future- especially around Christmas!
– Hadassah S., Founder & Modest Fashionista on Joyfully You
The story I selected isn’t one I can say I remember or even witnessed, but it is one I have been told over and over again.
It was my parents first Christmas together since being married on the 12 of December. But unlike most couple’s first Christmas, my story involves caramel, not the normal mistletoe.
My mom was up early on Christmas day making caramels and running here and there preparing to go to my grandmother’s for breakfast, and if my mom knew anything about her mother by this time it was that you CANNOT be late for holiday meals. She soon began to stress about leaving an hour early to get there on time, and started to realize she couldn’t get it all done by herself. So she turned to her new husband (my dad), who was still sitting on the couch drinking coffee and reading his Bible enjoying the freedom of not having to go to work. My mom naturally got frustrated at the laid-back personality of my dad and had a few angry words with him. Knowing my mom, she wasn’t upset at Dad for reading his Bible for a long time, she was upset that she couldn’t be doing the same.
Welllll… let’s just say one thing led to another… and another… and another, and before you knew it they were deep into a full-fledged argument and were hurling the fresh caramels at each other. The yelling and stomping and caramel-throwing continued for quite some time until a timid knock came from the door.
The newlyweds stopped, and with caramels in hand, it dawned on both of them what they must sound and look like. Mom hurried to the door and opened it and there stood the father of the downstairs neighbors. (The same neighbors Mom and Dad had been trying to witness to).
He smiled nervously and asked them in a timid voice if they would stop all the noise so they could have a quiet Christmas with their five-year-old son .
Mom, ashamed and embarrassed, apologized for troubling them, and went back inside to clean up all the caramels that had even managed to get inside the floor heater.
My parents made up soon, though, and before leaving ( even though they WERE late) they personally stopped in downstairs and apologized again for the whole episode.
Despite the burnt caramel smell every time they turned the heater on, everything was forgiven (not forgotten, though). And if you had to have a moral to the story it would be, “Don’t make caramels last minute on Christmas day!”
Hi all! Christmas is fast approaching! Who’s excited? Have you ever thought back to old Christmas’s or past Christmas experiences? If you were asked what was your favorite Christmas/or worst Christmas memory, what would you say? Well these are what come to mind to me: First of all, I remember all the times my siblings and I on Christmas morning, while singing Hark the Harold Angels Sing, walk down the hall to the family room awaiting the magical sight of the stuffed stockings. *Sigh*
Christmas is such a wonderful time and for good reasons too. Luke 2:11: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Yes. Our Lord and Savior was born and this is why we celebrate Christmas! What a wonderful reason to celebrate! Christmas is such a special time because you get to spend time with family! Spending time with family is such an important aspect of life. Cinnamon rolls, Christmas ham, baked pineapple, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes with gravy, pies, etc. You get the idea. Christmas dinner is always a hit! I love the chance to sit around the table with family and I especially love the delicious delicacies on the table. *Yum* I can literally smell it now. Now, sometimes the stories we most remember about Christmastime are not as perfectly pleasant as these. A couple years ago we went to get a real Christmas tree. Sounds lovely, right? We get the Christmas tree. It’s put on the roof of our car and off we go. Now you might be thinking what’s gonna go wrong. Well here is where everything goes wrong…. suddenly (are you liking the suspense)… we hear a swish and lo and behold we look behind us and our lovely Christmas tree has fallen right off the roof of our car and landed on the road. Yes, that year was difficult. So, as you can expect the next couple years we did a fake tree. This year however, we went and got a REAL tree! It was a lot of fun! So far, no problems- so we’re doing good! Now I have to say, one of my favs about Christmastime is the snow. Yes, to me the snow is a perfect white blanket sent as a blessing from God, our Father. As each perfect snowflake falls from the sky I am reminded of these verses:
Psalm 51:7: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
Snow is definitely a blessing. Christmas is a wonderful time for us to remember our blessings, spend time with family, worship our Savior, and recall favorite memories. May God bless you all with a memorable Christmas! Blessings,
Caroline K., Hair & Crafting Stylist on Joyfully You
Amid all the bustling and whirling busyness of the (admittedly few) Christmas seasons I’ve experienced, there are many stories and events that stand out. Exchanging cookies, laughter swirling and mingling with the festivities, gathering with friends and singing carols, baking Christmas desserts (my personal favorite!) and just sitting quietly by a cracking fire, sipping tea and staring into the embers. Nonetheless, out of all the events, big and little, that have marked my holiday seasons, there is one that stands out.
I was seven years old – a tomboy with frizzy hair that refused to stay in place and a knack for ordering siblings around. I loved Christmas – especially this particular one, which we were spending with my favorite aunt in the bustling city of Philadelphia. To a small girl like me, coming directly from Martinsville Ohio (population 400), it was a whole nother world – one of swirling colors, brilliant lights, and people, people, people. It was a brand new experience for me – but that isn’t what I remember most about this particular Christmas. No – this event took place on a frosty city night, just a few days before Christmas.
We were huddled deep in our winter coats (my sisters and I matching, of course), walking down the busy streets as fast as our little legs would allow. On this night, we were visiting a department store that was rumored to be a glistening fairyland for the duration of the season.
As we walked, I caught sight of a Christmas market set up on the street. As we walked fast (we were close to being late, as usual) I noticed something shimmery in one of the stalls. It looked like a tiny dress, sparkly and colorful, and – was that a tiny doll wearing it? I was intrigued – but we were running late. I caught up with my family and tried to forget about that elusive shimmery something.
The department store was beautiful of course, but somehow I couldn’t stop thinking about that little doll. It loomed huge in my seven year old mind. So, as we walked home late that chilly night, I begged my father to take a slight – just a slight detour, so i could examine the creature that had captured my attention. My family was cold and tired of walking, but being the loving family they are, they agreed to take a brief look. Up close, the doll was even more beautiful to my young eyes. A graceful ballerina, she stood on tiptoes. A glittery dress of soft lilac adorned her white limbs, and she wore a shining tiara in her golden hair. But one look at the price tag she also wore, and even my inexperienced mind knew of the folly of any request at purchasing. The price was far more exorbitant than anything my parents might have been willing to spend. I stared wistfully at the enchanting creature, and a small sigh of regret escaped my lips, frosting the night air.The proprietor of the stall, a slightly stooped little man who had obviously not been in the United States long, must have seen my longing gaze. He watched me for a long time, his face creased in thought. I watched him back with the boldness of a child. He had a nice face, I thought.
I smiled at him. Just then, a commotion from the vicinity of our strollers turned away my attention. Patience was cold and wanted everyone to notice, and the adults were slowly realizing that they would need a map of the city to get us home. As they deliberated, I shivered in silence. Turning back to the stall, I noticed that the beautiful doll was gone already. I sniffled, just a tiny bit. It was then that the old man came around outside of the stall. He stopped in front of me, a large box in his hands, tied with a bit of ribbon. I gazed at it, uncomprehending. Then, as he handed it to me, light dawned, and my face lit up. I looked into the man’s tired face. He spoke softly. “You look just like my daughter…back home. I haven’t seen her in years.” His smile was sad as he stepped away.
Finally finding my voice, I cried, “Thank you, thank you! I opened the box and pulled out the doll, even lovelier up close. I wrapped my arms around her, inhaling deeply. The old man grinned at me, a happy smile this time. I grinned back. My parents watched in surprised, silent gratitude. I never saw that man again – never even learned his name, or about his daughter – the one he must have been missing so much, far from home that Christmas. I still have that lovely little doll. She sits on my dresser, and occasionally as I walk by, I run my finger gently over her lilac gown, remembering the tiny, happy girl – and the old man who knew,
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
– Honor P.
No matter how many times they are told they never get old!! And we would love for you to leave your favorite Christmas stories in the comment box so we can share in some of your joyous memories.
I am so thankful for the intimate Christmas memory of God coming down to earth as a baby to die for all of our sins, so we can have joy! Remember Jesus as the reason for all Joy this season! Have a very Merry Christmas and make many new memories to cherish this season!
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”