Welcome to our weekly feature “Know Your Birdies” where every Friday a question is posed and you get to know us through our answers. This week we’ve asked… and answered: What is your most cherished Christmas memory?
We always lived far away from extended family, and my dad, being a pastor, was always working at Christmas. All of this meant that Christmases were just the four of us being together – simple, casual and intimate. And I loved them. The moments I remember most are… candlelight services at church… my sister and I doing some kind of “show” which included reading the Christmas story (sometimes with an interpretive measure to it, like dance) and singing some prepared arrangements of Christmas carols. (I love that kids often want to perform and do so fearlessly in front of their parents, at least we did)… tons of baked goodies from church-goers; we always had our pick of yumminess… and quality time with my parents’ undivided attention, which included lots of cuddling and tv-watching. Still, to this day, this picture warms my heart and reminds me of what I love about the holidays.
My favorite Christmas memories are kind of in the process of happening right now. I cannot articulate how much fun I am having this year with my kids. Gingerbread houses, cookies and the elf on the shelf. I love seeing the magic of their innocence and the wonder at all things Christmas. They love the music, my older daughter is constantly singing “jangle bells”. My son loves helping me cook, particularly licking the beater. He also is enthralled with Jesus asking all of these amazing questions. I think this is going to be the Christmas that I think of when I am an old woman with warmth in my heart. I just can’t envision it getting better than this right now.
One of the most special Christmas memories for me happened when Adrian and I were first married. Money was very tight- he was a barista by early morning, leading music at church, and teaching drumline. And I was just starting out as a full time social worker. We didn’t have the extra funds for presents that year and had told ourselves that it was okay since we knew that wasn’t the true point of the holiday anyway. But of course we were a little bummed inside. Completely by surprise, Adrian received an anonymous Christmas card in his inbox at the church (the one Jina’s dad was senior pastor of!) that contained $100. We were blown away by the generosity we felt from that secret donation. But it was more than the money. That card represented the love, celebration, and beauty that define Christmas.