Category Archives: Christmas

The Christmas Box

Christmas box

The holidays are once again upon us and all of the old memories come flooding back as we place precious moments, cleverly disguised as Christmas ornaments, so very carefully on the twinkling light laden evergreen.  Some memories bring a smile to the face as you reflect back on a different time, perhaps a long forgotten place; the memory, once lying dormant, nestled deep in the recesses of the mind until a sight, smell or event once again revives the remembrance in vivid details.  Thus is the case when I see a candy orange slice or old fashioned hard candy.

I grew up in the sleepy town of Nelsonville Ohio, tucked in the Hocking Hills of Zaleski State forest.  My family went to the Church of the Nazarene on Adams Street where my spiritual foundation was birthed.  The church itself was a blonde block split level building with stairs both leading up to the sanctuary and downward to the Sunday school classrooms.  The windows in the sanctuary were all made of stained glass with names of those who donated to the building of the church, etched in the bottom of each window.  Back behind the pulpit and the choir loft was a very large, round stained glass window with what appeared to be curious and perhaps mischievous cherubim peeking out from and around puffy white and gray clouds. Those same angelic faces also gave many a child an impressive fright as they seemed to stare and follow your gaze if you dared to look too long.

Our family mostly went to Sunday school and seldom attended church unless there was a special speaker or possibly a visiting missionary.  The exception came during the Christmas season.  Every year, I would be involved in the children’s Christmas program in some way, whether it be a small bible verse to say or, as I got a little older, a speaking part in the Christmas pageant.  And every year I would fuss and fret over my insignificant part, not wanting to go up in front of “those people”; the congregation which looked to me as scary as the angels in the windows.

There was only one thing that kept my eye on getting through this hideous, inescapable ordeal; the Christmas box.  You see, on the Sunday before Christmas after the pageant was over and everyone was dismissed from the service, everyone received a treat box.  I know Mary and Joseph had the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh presented to them by the Magi but we had the treat box and piece of fruit, which seemed of equal value, given to us by the big guys, men from the church that seemed to tower over us kids and would many times have to stoop down to hand us our treasures.

Unable to curb our enthusiasm and curiosity, as soon as we clambered into the back of the car, my siblings and I removed the scotch tape that bound the box and carefully opened the lid, like a treasure hunter investigating his discovery.  Aside from the choice of a Red Delicious apple or navel orange, the box contained an assortment of incredible edibles that would sure to satisfy the taste buds for days to come. Coconut bonbons, peanut clusters, chocolate drops, walnuts, sugar coated orange slices would greet you as you opened the box as well as an assortment of old fashioned hard candies which made up the majority of the candied treasure chest.  My favorite was the raspberry hard candy that was filled with a juicy center and would burst in your mouth as you clamped down.

I would always choose the Red Delicious apple which I could quickly devour and toss the core.  My sister, Jennifer however, always chose the navel orange as we headed down the church steps and to the awaiting car.  Jennifer didn’t just eat the orange; it seemed she held a ceremony for it as she celebrated the citrus in her hands.  Jennifer would carefully lay out a paper towel and peel the orange rind, piece by piece until her orb resembled a raggedy softball.  Then she would separate the orange segments and isolate just one, where she would slowly and painstakingly remove all of the membrane until the orange nectar was exposed.  She would then stick half of the orange segment into her mouth, close her eyes and bite down, orange juice running out of her mouth and down her chin.  At times, there would be a soft moan of gratification and the process would repeat itself until the fruit was completely gone; it was as exciting to watch as watching paint dry…

As I look back on those times and reminisce, I have to smile and shake my head, for something as small and insignificant as a treat box in an adult’s mind, was so special and anticipated in a child’s.  But I also have to shake my head at us adults, who constantly need to be reminded of what the true meaning of Christmas actually is; that Hope was born on Christmas Day and the possibility now exists for us to live eternally with and for the One who gave His life so we may never truly die.  Like the child of my past, anxiously waiting for that treat box, we need to daily wait with great excitement and anticipation what blessings our Lord has for us as well as what service, task and/or ministry He needs for us to carry out.

As I entered adulthood with all the different responsibilities it entails, I was able to take part in ordering the contents and filling the treat boxes for that same local church.  I learned that we had far fewer chocolates in the box as opposed to hard candies because of cost and that it really was a financial struggle for the church to continue providing the fruit for the congregation.  But I also knew that everyone involved felt it was well worth sacrificing from another line item area to ensure everyone had a special treat in their hand.  And nothing else felt more rewarding at the time than bending down and handing a special treasure, the Christmas box, to a child who had just performed their heart out for a very gracious loving congregation…

Thought of the Day–12/25/17

Mother and Child

Thought of the Day—God’s love was shown and Hope was born for us on Christmas Day!  May peace reign in your lives as you celebrate the Christ child this Christmas…happy birthday, Jesus!

Thought of the Day–12/24/17

Ornament

Thought of the Day—As we enter the eve before Christmas, let us remember that it matters not what lies beneath the tree as much as what lies in our hearts.  A heart full of thankfulness for our one perfect gift–Jesus, a heart full of love for our family and friends and a heart full of joy in anticipation of being with those you love…that is what the Spirit of Christmas is all about…

Wilson Christmas Letter 2017

 

Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas from the Wilsons!!

A big “HEY” to our treasured family and friends!  We hope that your year has been full of fun filled moments and cherished memories.  Jenny already has our house in festive mode inside and out; she is perusing what kinds of incredible edibles she can whip up for this Christmas season.  Soon the dishes will be stacked high and the flour will be flying!  (Just kidding Jenny…honest!)

Our year began with Crystal changing our official titles of, “Grandma” and “Grandpa” to Gum Gum and Pops!!  Yep, that’s right; we have been “rebranded” and couldn’t be happier…I don’t know how she chose Pops, but Crystal saw Jenny chewing gum and I think it stuck…the name anyway…

Jenny and I started out the year with a nice vacation at Disney World; just two elder children wandering through the Magic Kingdom while wondering what Crystal will think of it all in a few years.  We went to Gatlinburg for a week in May and toured the burned out areas of the region, including our Tree Tops Resort that lost more than half of its’ buildings including our unit.  We were due for a vacation at Edisto Island in September but one of the many hurricanes this year preempted our stay until April of next year.

One of the family’s great tragedies this year was the loss of my sister, Jennifer on October 25th.  She has left such a chasm in our hearts that I fear healing will be both very slow and painful.  We will all miss her zest for life, her candid, “shoot from the hip” demeanor and her passionate love, for she loved fully and unconditionally.  She left this life like she lived it; on her terms.  Jennifer may not have been granted physical healing, but God granted her another ten plus months to experience true emotional and spiritual healing that had eternal ramifications.

Crystal will be three in January and has continued to steal our hearts.  Crystal is very intelligent and insightful; many times she will make a remark that makes us pause and question, “where did THAT come from?”  She is certainly a free Crystalspirit who can be very quiet and composed, but suddenly will break out in song or exclaim, “There’s a bear!”  Crystal is very much into play acting now and you never know who she is going to be.  One moment she might be Millie, her cousin or any member of her preschool class.  All I have to say is, Justin and Alison are in BIG trouble…

Under the category of pity poor me…I’m mourning the passing of my fifties…Yep, I’m sixty now…makes me a little nauseous when I hear that; I believe the thought makes my older siblings a little uncomfortable as well.  Jenny and Alison lessened the blow by taking me to Ocean Isle Beach, NC for a few days of “reality adjustments”.

As I bring our Christmas letter to a close, I am reminded of the fragility of life and how we so often take for granted what is truly a gift from God that keeps on giving; the magic of ordinary days.  The lyrical laughter of a child, perhaps the friendly banter with coworkers, or a much needed phone call from a friend or loved one are just simple reminders of love wrapped in the every day.  And while it might seem a little unrealistic to expect everyone to just drop what you’re doing and ponder on your life, all I’m asking is that you perhaps take the time to readjust your heart, even for a while, to one of thanksgiving.  Slow down a little, use all of your senses so you can truly experience all the blessings around you.  Kiss your spouse, hug your kids, make that call, patch that relationship, and forgive those silly grievances you may have with another, for we don’t know how much time we have with them or they with us.  And please remember one thing this Christmas season, peace on earth and good will towards men begins at your own front doorstep…

Much love to you and yours this Christmas and always!!

From Gum Gum, Pops and Izzy the dog

Steve and Jenny

Thought of the Day–12/18/17

Christmas gifts

Thought of the Day—It’s a week before Christmas. Are you still trying to find that perfect gift that no one wants or are you making final preparations for the perfect gift your whole family wants AND needs; your presence?  I’m not talking about your physical body being present and accounted for as much as you, in the moment, getting involved; go to that Christmas Eve service, engage with your kids and others, play those table games, arrange dinner around your needs not vice versa.  It’s not too late to surprise your family this Christmas; make it count!

Thought of the Day–12/16/17

Christmas Cross

Thought of the Day—Jesus isn’t the reason for the season…we are…For if sin had not entered into this world and if we were not in such a desperate state of need, there would be no need for a Savior to save us from our sins…but here we are, with that very need.  So we, the receivers of God’s most perfect gift, celebrate the gift of Jesus this season and we worship God the Father for His perfect love for us!  John 3:16-17 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.