Guest Blog - "What is your fondest Christmas memory?"

My memory is somewhat bittersweet… but here goes – 
It was Christmas 1993, I was fifteen and we were broke (as usual). My childhood was not what you would call easy. Let me be fair – it wasn't terrible, but it was rough most of the time. It was Christmas and there was barely enough money for rent and electricity – so gifts were out of the question. Not a huge deal except for the fact that I have a sister that was six at the time.
My Mom and Dad in a moment of desperation applied to the Empty Stocking Fund for assistance. (The Empty Stocking Fund is an organization that assists the underprivileged in obtaining gifts for Christmas) By what I can only explain as Divine Intervention, they accepted the application and selected our family as one of the ones they would assist. I remember Mom and Dad proudly sitting me down to explain the lengths that they had gone to, to make sure we (my twin brother, younger brother and younger sister) would have a good Christmas.  At the time, I remember being mortified. I was afraid that it would get out. People, more importantly, my friends would know just how poor we really were.
Mom and Dad took our "Letters to Santa" and gave them to the ESF. I remember there being several gifts under the tree Christmas morning. My little sister was thrilled! We had a great Christmas because of the generosity of others. I know I must have gotten several things but the only thing I remember was a Bible. It was green leather with my name engraved on the cover. I still carry it today as a reminder of that Christmas.
I never understood why Mom & Dad felt the need to tell me about applying to the ESF for assistance – why they didn’t just wrap the gifts and let them be from Santa – but in hindsight, I am so glad they did. It was extremely humbling, but it also showed me firsthand, the real meaning of Christmas. It's not about the gifts under the tree, the nip in the air or the tacky decorations – it is truly a state of the heart.
This year, twenty years later, as I look at my two children and consider the reason we celebrate Christmas, I am amazed at the love our Savior must have for us. Yes, we celebrate the birth of Jesus – but let us not forget the fact that God sent His Son to be born so that He could die on a cross for our sins. This year, let us not get frustrated when someone cuts us off and takes the parking spot we were waiting on or runs over our heels with their shopping cart as we wait in those ridiculously long checkout lines. Let us find peace in the knowledge that we are loved so much that He gave His only begotten Son so that if anyone, everyone, you, me, that guy in traffic – believed in Him, we would not perish; He would give us everlasting life.
Let us all pause to give thanks for the blessings we have and take the opportunity to share what we can.Let us all pause to give thanks for the blessings we have and take the opportunity to share what we can.Let us all pause to give thanks for the blessings we have and take every opportunity to share what we can.  Merry Christmas & God

Bless You!

Daniel McHone

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