As I sat in our living room last Christmas morning, there was a pile of presents under the tree. A smile filled my face, just thinking about the joy and laughter that would fill the house in a few hours when we gathered around to hear the Christmas story, worship Jesus, and open presents.
That morning as I thought about the celebration of our Lord’s birth, my mind was already busy unwrapping. No, I wasn’t thinking ahead to presents. Instead, I was unwrapping the many memories of Christmas that I carry on my heart.
I remember sitting at the kids’ table in Grandma’s mobile home, laughing and goofing around with my brother and cousins. I remember the doll house my Grandpa made when I was seven and the loving care my grandma took to decorate it.
I remember the boom box and banana clips from high school and my first Christmas with my son Cory not long after I turned eighteen. Cory was only six months old, but the greatest gift God gave to both of us that year was John—my soon-to-be husband and Cory’s soon-to-be daddy.
There are memories of the kids acting out the Christmas story and Goyer family gatherings in which forty of us would eat in our cleaned-out and heated garage because it was the only place big enough to set up tables and chairs for everyone.
I also will never forget the first time I celebrated Christmas in California with my biological dad and the four sisters I didn’t know growing up. I had a happy heart that day, being with people I didn’t know well but who amazingly looked and acted just like me. How cool is that?!
As I write this, there are faces going to be missing around the tree, to be sure. There’s always a sense of missing when the people you love are far away. And that’s when Christmas Morning becomes Christmas Mourning. I’m thinking of my mom, dad, siblings, in-laws, and friends, wishing I could fill me house with their faces, their smiles, their laughter. I’m sure you understand.
It’s so easy to center Christmas around the baby who God sent, but we cannot forget the purpose for His coming. Jesus’ mission wasn’t just about the manager, the angels, and the swaddling clothes. His purpose was to offer himself so that we can spend eternity with Him and those we love.
The greatest gift is one we’ve yet to open. Salvation comes to our hearts when we whisper a prayer of faith and relinquishment—when we give up the right to ourselves.
Like a beautifully wrapped presents under the tree, the best part of the gift is still to come. My mind is anticipating the unwrapping. I can only guess of the joy and laughter to come!
12 Days of Christmas Giveaways Day 11
I’m celebrating Christmas with my favorite blog readers by giving away a different book pack each day! Today’s book pack is the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War Pack, which includes: A Valley of Betrayal, A Shadow of Treason, and A Whisper of Freedom. Winners will be announced on my blog on Christmas day!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Sandy Harrox says
Crossing my fingers that I will win! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
I’m trying so hard to win!
Merry Christmas Tricia!
Jan Hall says
Merry Christmas. I am so glad that the best gift is yet to come. Thank you for the reminder
Judith A Fritz says
To me as a Christian, the best gift that is yet to come is the return of Christ when He will come to get us and bring us home with Him. His return will be soon!!!! Merry Christmas Tricia to you and yours!! Judy F
Gayle Pace says
HAPPY HOLIDAYS to everyone. Don’t forget the real meaning of Christmas.
Is there a rafflecopter today?
Merry Christmas! So grateful for salvation!
I have received the greatest gift of salvation. So thankful for God’s love.
Sarah Stewart says
Merry Christmas! Would love to win!
Ruth Hill says
I would love to win, too!
Sue Brandes says
I am not seeing the rafflecopter today. I would love to enter. Merry Christmas.
No rafflecopter! Sounds like a fabulous trio of books. Merry Christmas eve eve.
Jennifer Tipton says
Merry Christmas Tricia and to everyone here!
jennydtipton at gmail .com
Sharon Miller says
Yep, Christmas is definitely about JESUS, my Redeemer and Savior! Love to win your book pack!!!!
Mallori Norris says
Thanks Tricia–What a great reminder! I also am not getting the Rafflecopter link. :-/ Merry Christmas to everyone!
jojo elliott says
Would love to win any of your books Tricia!! Thanks for the chance. Merry Christmas!
Lucy Nix says
Looks like a delightful book to read, Thanks for the opportunity. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
Wanda Barefoot says
Your Post really touched me today, Miss Tricia. Holidays are always hard for me. I cry as I write this because the love of my life, my dad, passed away 4 years ago. This year makes 4 Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations without him. My dad was a strong presence in my life and nothing is the same without him. I know he is happy with the Lord and that makes getting through the Holidays easier but he is never far from our minds during our family dinners. Thank you so much for the beautiful posts you share. I look forward to more. Thank you for all of the generous giveaways too. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with those you love.
Amy Bateman says
I love the Christmas season, but Christmas day always seems like such a let down after the preparations and hype. Maybe turning to the Lord would make it a bit easier. Is there no rafflecopter today?
angela chesnut says
would love to win.
i love these books!!!
Rachael Merritt says
I am without all siblings and parents as well…2,000 miles away. I’d tell them Christ still came and he still comforts no matter where one has Christmas.
Merry Xmas, would like to win
Kim Leachman says
Thanks for the chance to win.
Lisa Cowell says
I am going to make my mother’s (grandmother’s) cinnamon rolls and take them to my Dad on Christmas. He really misses my mom and her cooking, especially around the holidays.
Donna Harmon says
Live your books. Merry Christmas!!!
I have been wanting to read this series! Merry Christmas :).
Katie Edgar says
I have a college friend who is mourning this Christmas, her husband passed away in an accident at work a few months ago. She is devastated. I pray for her and let her know I am thinking of her and praying for her. She doesn’t live close.
Sherrey Meyer says
Fantastic giveaway! Have a blessed Christmas morning1
Krista D says
Too keep our Christmas morning focused on the eternal, we decided to sponsor another child through compassion same age as our son. Something other than gifts and toys to talk about 🙂
Carol Kelley says
Let them know that you are there to listen and pray for them. You don’t have to do anything special, just be there.
Karen Korb says
To keep Christmas morning focused on Jesus.
Linda D. McFarland says
Celebrate the King of Kings and not the thing of things! Love that message and Merry Christmas to all! Thanks for the opportunity to win…Linda
Katrina S says
In order to encourage those who are mourning this Christmas, I first need to be aware – I need to really SEE others and not be so caught up in myself and my family and my.. my… my…
I think taking the time to really hear people and hear their hearts and their hurts will open doors to share the joy we can still have in Christ, even when things are hard.
Joycelyn Ong says
Hi Tricia, I’m always following you via social media. Thank you for taking your time to encourage us and also replying our comments. =) Would love to read your books because I don’t have any Christian fiction at home. ( I’m living in Malaysia )
Blessed Christmas to you and your family!!
Bonnie Traher says
Would be awesome to win this book.
Barbara Thompson says
Have enjoyed the 12 days of Christmas. Thankful for the Jesus birth. Merry Christmas.
Linda Rainey-Hogan says
Would be awesome to win. Merry Christmas.
Marg Z says
Our family lost our grandmother on Dec 22. We have learned to celebrate the memories she left us and we make sure we make a few of her favorite foods or dishes. It feels like she is sitting at the table with us.
Susan Johnson says
I’m not sure how to do that, other than just be there.
Tina Turpin says
I would encourage those who are mourning, especially during the Christmas season to ask others to pray for them. This helps me so much. Christmas has been a bittersweet holiday for me since my Dad passed 6 years ago–he was only 63. There are so many things to be grateful for: my health, my job, my beautiful and ever growing family (I have five grandchildren and two son-in-laws) Everyone is well, we are employed, have a roof over our head, etc…… All of these blessings are huge and I am so thankful, but I miss my Dad terribly, especially during the holidays. I get through it because I don’t hide my sadness, but share with others and we pray for each other. Blessings to you and Merry Christmas.
Brenda Leon says
We all have sadness, but at Christmas it is magnified more it seems. Do for them what you would want someone to do for you if roles were reversed. Be there for them, listen, be a friend, even in silence we can be a big help.
Focus on Christ and his love and Christmas will be beautiful.
Christmas is one of the times of the year that tends to be bittersweet.
Today I’ve been missing my grandma today. She went to heaven 16 years ago, but there are occasionally days that the pain of missing is a little overwhelming. I find it helps all of us to spend time talking to the others in my family who miss her just as much.
Kelly Blackwell says
My friend lost his wife this year, and several of us are going to go out to lunch with him on Christmas. We understand the loss of our dear friend, but certainly not THE loss he is experiencing, but we hope that just being together will help.
Saundra McKenzie says
Our friend lost his wife this year to cancer. His family is far away, so he is our guest for Christmas dinner. He wants to forget it is Christmas, so we will watch funny movies and eat good food.
Virginia Winfield says
Have a Merry Christmas and May next year be a healthy and happy one. Always try to remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Lisa gallup says
First and always we need to put God first. We should encourage them to look at the reason for the season. It is commemorating the Lords birth. Not things but God.
We need to be wiling to be a vessel to minister God’s love to all mankind all year long. Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to you and yours, Hoping for a win 🙂
Be there, give a hug and don’t pressure!
Amanda T says
I think one of the most important things can be just to acknowledge their loss. Remembering that they are aching during these holidays as family gets together and loved ones are missing. Even though it has been 14 years since my brother died in a car accident at the age of 20yrs, that heartache never goes away. Without Christ, we would be most miserable. So thankful for His sacrifice to pay my debt.
Deanna S says
Today is the anniversary of my fathers death, So I think about how Jesus birth was a gift to us and His Father already knew that He was sending Him to a painful death. What love He has for me! I’ll see my father again in Heaven and tomorrow I will celebrate and remind my family of the gift that the birth of our Lord is and what HE suffered for us.
When I hear Happy Holidays, I promptly return – MERRY CHRISTMAS ! to remind them there is a REASON for this holiday…..
for the holiday.
Jan Hall says
I have a hard time expressing myself when I know a friend is mourning. Even when I don’t know the person they are missing and especially if I am missing them too. I can only say I am sorry and give them a hug.
REBECCA STEPHEN says
For many years I hated Christmas, because I was alone. Well, I started to talk to people and bake for strangers. I try to stay active and my biggest gift is having friends.
Carol Carman says
I can encourage others by letting them know they (and their loved ones) are not forgotten.
Neljo Mullins says
My favorite christmas was when i was six. My parents had santa to come deliver presents to my cousins and i.