My name is Connie. I’m married to Kenny. We have five children – Sarah, John, Mary, Ruth, and Stephen. This will be our 36th year to celebrate Christmas in Brownsville.
Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.
Luke 2:14 (New Living Translation, Second Edition)
On Christmas Eve, 2004, around 10:30 PM, our phone began to ring. It was our kid’s friends telling them that snow flurries had been spotted in Brownsville. To say that we were excited is an understatement. The kids were bouncing off the walls because they had never seen snow here. The last time it snowed in Brownsville was in 1895! Around 11 PM, it began to sleet. It was after midnight before everyone was settled down and in bed.
I stayed up later, wrapping a couple of gifts, filling stockings, and went to bed thinking about things that still needed to be done for our Christmas lunch.
Very early the next morning, Kenny and I awakened to shrieks of laughter outside our window. When we peeked out, we were surprised to see it really had snowed. The ground was lightly covered. The kids and neighbor kids were running in the street leaving their footprints, making snow angels, snowballs, and attempting a snowman. Everyone joined in the fun, except me. I was happy for the snow, but too busy making lunch to join in the play. We MADE our kids come in and open gifts and eat lunch around noon, and then right back out into the melting snow they went.
I didn’t realize it until later, but I missed something that Christmas. The snow was a Christmas gift to us, a gift only God could give. It was “magical” as my kids still say.
It’s common at Christmas to get caught up in buying the right gifts, wrapping them beautifully, and cooking the turkey just right. Every day, we get caught up in the busyness of life. In doing so, we miss out on the gifts God brings into our lives regularly, and the really special gifts he gives a few times in a lifetime. In our busyness, we often forget the gift of His Son, especially at Christmas.
This year we’re trying something a little different in our ever-growing family. The giving of gifts will be simpler. We’re going to make more memories and less stress with game nights, football at the park, a night hike at Resaca de la Palma, and the reading of Christmas books. We will give up unrealistic expectations, and use paper plates and cups for Christmas lunch. We will be intentional about focusing on Jesus and His presence in our lives every day, recognizing that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. God will be pleased when we return our thoughts to Him and His greatest gift.