If you were to ask our children what their favorite Christmas was, they would all say the same thing: the year we decided to rent a mountain getaway instead of spending money on gifts.
Money was tight during the years we raised a large family. We couldn’t afford large or expensive gifts, and that was probably best. When our children gave gifts to one another, they would try to make up for quality with quantity. Their thought was, “Since I can’t afford to give them something big, I’ll go to a dollar store and get lots of little things.”
The year of our mountain get-away, my husband received a large Christmas bonus. Some friends had rented a house in the mountains and raved over how nice it was. “We should do that,” we said, and ventured forth.
And it was there we discovered the meaning of Christmas giving.
Arriving after a long drive, we were awed at the sheer natural beauty of the place. Powdery snow lay in picture-perfect layers on the pines. Acres of natural forest blanketed the landscape as far as our eyes could see.
The chalet we reserved was decorated with twinkling lights on the upper deck to welcome us. Opening the door, we marveled in hushed awe at first—then the children rushed into each room, exclaiming over the cozy accommodations.
Fortunately, this memory-making event occurred before we all had cell phones. We were blessed with three days of uninterrupted family time, cooking, playing games, working puzzles together, lounging in the hot tub, going hiking (seeing a bear) and experiencing Christmas as it was meant to be from the beginning: simple and blessed.
No, it wasn’t the glitter and glitz. It was the giving of ourselves to one another: our time and energy. Our full attention. We re-discovered one another that year, and it made us closer as a family.
Giving-- the essence of Christmas. God gave His only Son to a world dazzled by material things. Our glittering gifts pale in comparison.
What about you? What was your most memorable Christmas? Don't forget to comment below.