Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Gifts

I always look forward to the Sunday before Christmas with great anticipation. This year was no exception.

It actually begins day, weeks, sometimes even months before that Sunday. The planning, the shopping for supplies, the creating. Perhaps I should tell you my story.

The first year my husband and I were married, I had no idea what to expect. We met while attending seminary and married a few months later. The Sunday following our brief honeymoon, my husband (who was still a full-time seminary student) took a new pastorate (his second, but my first as a pastor's wife) of a small church in northern Missouri. Our congregation accepted us and nurtured us, for which we are both grateful. The Sunday before Christmas the families in our congregation showered us with many gifts. We were overwhelmed by their love and generosity.

We knew there was no way we could ever repay all they did for us, but we agreed that from that year on, we would also give to our church family at Christmas time. Therefore every year since then, on the Sunday before Christmas we have given a handmade gift to every family attending our church. (We have long since left that little church in northern Missouri, having been in five churches since those early years.)

I vividly remember the first year's gifts... I canned a variety of pickles and each family got to select a jar to take home with them. More times than not, though, the gift is a Christmas ornament that I've made, usually an angel.

We have been in our current church for eleven Christmases now and every year they have received an angel ornament. I think if I tried venturing from that tradition at this point, some of them might question my decision. LOL!

Here is this year's gift:

This year's angel is actually quite special, though it really isn't much to look at. (My husband calls it a "kangaroo angel" because it has a pouch in the back.)

Here's the back, that shows the pouch:

It isn't an ordinary pouch, though. It holds something very special. My husband has learned that he loves writing poetry and telling stories. He's actually part of a storytelling group. He has even been known to write a poem for funerals and other events. Our church members love it when he does that. In fact, one lady has even told him when she dies he HAS to write a poem for her funeral. LOL! So I asked him to write a poem to be included in this year's angel. He readily agreed to do so.
With my husband's permission, I'm sharing his poem with you, too.

What is Christmas Really About© 2010 C. Brent Cloyd

Quickly is coming Christmas day,
Perhaps you ponder with dismay
Amidst the shopping and the shouts,
What is Christmas really about?

Is it about reindeer and elves,
The gifts we wish for ourselves?
Is it about wrapping paper and bows,
Stockings stuffed with goodies clear to the toes?

Is it about family, friends, and feast,
The smell of bread baking rising with yeast?
About trees, lights, and cute decorations,
Parties, eggnog, and celebrations?

These commodities make the holiday bright,
But something else is required to make it right;
For Christmas is not about programs and costumes worn,
But about a miraculous baby that was born.

About Mary and Joseph, man and wife,
Who came to Bethlehem pregnant with life.
No room was left for them in the inn,
Shelter was found in a cattle pen.

The time of her delivery would not waiver,
In that stable she experienced labor.
Born into a place smelling of manure,
Christ arrived our salvation to assure.

Nearby shepherds tending flocks by night
Were startled by a glorious light.
Angels while seeking to calm their fear
Came proclaiming this event of cheer.

Told of a birth of a baby boy,
A king, a savior, who would bring joy.
His mission was one of peace,
From our sins to bring release.

Then with haste they went with glee,
Marveled at what they did see;
Found him in a manger yet filled with glory
Then left with excitement to tell his story.

So as we gather this December
May this jingle help us remember,
Christmas is not about dear old Santa Claus
But about the Christ who saves us from our flaws.
♥ ♥ ♥

Merry Christmas! May the season hold many great joys for each and every one of you!


Gorse Auto Detailing said...

Oh My!! That poem is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing it!!!
Your church congregation is blessed to have you and I'm sure they know it!!

Melina said...

What a great angel ornament! That is so special that you share your creativity each year with your church family!
Your husband has a great gift of word. Thank you so much for sharing his talent!
God Bless you and your family Jeanette! Merry Christmas! :)

dweatter said...

OMgoodness Jeanette!!! The ornament is wonderful and DH's poem is beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful gift for each church family to receive. I know they will cherish them. Thank you for sharing this!

~Paola~ said...

beautiful ornament Jeanette,especially for what it represents indeed!

Now,if I could only see through these misty eyes of mine....your dear husband's wonderful poem is the culprit for such display of watery gate....
I love how he embraced the REAL reason of the Season...a season of merryment I must admit I'm not feeling much these the point I decided not to embellish my house with christmasy decor...but am looking forward to dust off and proudly display a Nativity scene instead...
Thank YOU Mr. Cloyd, I so hope to be reading more of your talented poems in the future.
Merry Christ-mas!


Barb said...

The poem your husband wrote is wonderful and the story is so touching! I want to be in your church to get one of these--it is so pretty and such a wonderful memory for each person. Thanks for sharing another sweet part of your life with us...................

MiamiKel said...

Oh my goodness, says she as she wipes her eyes just brimming with a tiny tear! The poem from your husband is absolutely heart warming and lifts the spirit, just as HE (and he!) meant it to do - giving us the wonderment and real reason behind this season. The angel ornament is just as lovely as you are and the gift that it represents - beautifully done! x0x0

:: BlueInks :: said...

Oh, Ms J! Your angel card is so very creative, as is the poem you DH wrote. Both are equally as special as they show each of your talents. Your church members will be so very lucky to be in receipt of your gifts.

April said...

Well, it is hard to type through the tears....I hope you give your DH a hug from me for his very special words. Your gift of an angel every Christmas is quite the joy too!!