Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmases to Remember

All Christmases have memories attached. Whether it is the one when you were sixteen and all you got were bicycle parts even though you wanted a CAR (true story) or the time you dive across the desert squashed in the back of a Buick with two of your sisters and a tired father and turtle happy mother up front (unfortunately, another true story).

There are some you will remember because of sheer joy. Like the first Christmas you spend as husband and wife. Perhaps it is the one with your baby’s first Christmas.

Then there is the Christmas spent with nine foster children, some of whom have never had much kindness let alone presents given to them. We (Dave, Keegan, Evan, and I) spent about four Christmases like this.

Of course there are Christmases that you just have to laugh for the sheer joy of having two of the silliest boys on Earth with you.

Yet, the one Christmas that will always sit in the forefront of my memory is the Christmas I spent without my family. The one where I was called up, along with a lot of other mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, and sons, to be a Peacekeeper in the Bosnia crisis: Operation Joint Guard.

Dave and I had been married seven years and our son, Keegan, had only just turned two. I would be gone for nine months. Part of those nine months was during Christmas. It could have been awful.

But it wasn’t.

Lonely? Yes. Yet through my pain, I was able to express love. I found a rich joy that Christmas.

Our Battalion was blessed with opportunities to serve others. We were stationed in Taszár, Hungary a few hours from the Croatian border and since it was 1997 and the war was pretty much over, there was much poverty and way too many orphans. Being a Transportation Battalion who coordinated operations, we had access to many things that other soldiers did not. Our Chaplain set up visits to orphanages and we visited many kids. We also had many donations/presents that people from all over gave for the orphans. One day we spent the entire workday wrapping those presents, getting them into and labeling the boxes for boys/girls and age groups. We delivered some of them in person. From mattresses to bikes. One little girl I especially remember received a Barbie doll and cried. She had never had a doll before. I think that was the best Christmas moment I’ve ever had. Maybe because it was the closest I came to the true meaning of Christmas. Giving and loving others just as God loved us so much that he sent His Son.

Happy Birthday Jesus. I pray I can always have Your giving spirit all year round.

So, tell me. What is the best Christmas/Chanukah experience you have ever had?


Bonnie Calhoun said...

No one in particular stands out that I can remember.

I just love Christmas. And I love to call it Christmas, not some stupid holiday thingy!

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas..there I got it all out!

M. C. Pearson said...

Christ Mass...Holy Day...they actually mean the same thing, no? LOL some political correct person may become upset if they actually realized this.

McSwain said...

Thank you for the walk through your Christmases past! The Christmas that stands out to me was the one where we met the Angel in the Black Leather Jacket. on the way to California. I think you read that one already. :)

Trinity13 said...

Wow, what wonderful pics! And what a wonderful thing you did for those children!!!

I'm hoping to have the best Christmas experience ever this year!

Jennifer said...

Mimi, that was beautiful. Thanks for sharing your memories, and photos. Thank you for serving our country to protect the freedoms I enjoy. And thank you for the ways you have looked to serve God!

Dennie McDonald said...

Love the photos - and Christmas memories!

I don't have one that is the best - they are all pretty good - but Christmas of '94 my oldest son was born on Dec 15 - to have a new baby, be first time parents at Christmas was sweeter than just about anything else.

3 boys more and now Christmas is more hectic and more exciting!

Merry Christmas - M.C. =)

Running2Ks said...

Thank you, Mimi. Thank you. You did a wonderful service. Thank you. I can't say that enough.

I have so many fond and silly childhood memories, but every year is my new favorite from the discovery I see in my children. This year I am so excited, because they want to believe in Santa so much (and I happen to know he got them both the one thing they wanted). And same for Hanukkah :)

M. C. Pearson said...

cheryl~ I love that black leather angel story!!!

trinity13~ I hope you do! New home!!! WAHOO!

Jennifer~ Ah, shucks. Thank you, sweetie.

dennie~ Baby Chrismases are always the best!

running2ks~ I love Santa too. My 4 year old watches those old cartoons all day long. Now he's on 'the year w/out a santa claus kick'. Hope yours is GREAT!

Pia said...

i love christmas. it's my favorite. always looking forward to it. every year is special but the best was when i was still a kid. christmas is all fun for kids and i enjoyed mine to the fullest.

A Human Bean said...

I love hearing stories of people serving people. Each time it reminds me of Jesus washing the disciples feet.

The Curmudgeon's Rant said...

What an amazing tribute to the birthday of Jesus. I pray this is your best CHRISTmas ever!

Kimber said...

WOW!!! What a beautiful post!!! Thanks for being God's hands of love!

We didn't grow up celebrating Christmas - but now we do - my first Christmas I was 18 years old....and that first one was special to us for many reasons....but, I don't think anything of our Christmas stories could top the one you wrote about!! AWESOME!

NOw onto that eight lettered word verification...ha ha

Pirate said...

thank you for your service to our great country and knowing that it takes the sacrifice of people like you to give all of a us a great country to call home. God Bless you MC.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I agree with you 100% Bonnie. Happy Christmas to you and eberyone else.

Great post there!

Teresa said...

Thanks for sharing those stories. I remember being in the Christmas play at church and I was a lamb, but I wanted to be an angel. So, my little cotton ball clad butt sat under the piano and sulked the whole time.

*Pixie Girl* said...

Lovely photos! Thank you for sharing your memories. Nice place ya got here!

Rulan said...

What a blessing it must have been to be able to share like you did. So cool.
I think my best Christmas was my first one as a Christian. The sudden knowledge of who it was really all about. May you have a great Christmas.

Jada's Gigi said...

Best Christmas ever??? hmmm lots of memories running together but I really enjoyed the Christmases when my kids were the fun ages of 6-12. We always went caroling with our church and had a huge open house for our neighbors. those were awesome times. After the offical "date" of Dec. 25th we would drive 2 days to our hometown to celebrate all over again with both our families. Christmas in those days lasted about 2 weeks. What a way to celebrate!
thanks for stopping by my site, Have a wonderful Christmas this year!

M. C. Pearson said...

Pia~ is just a magical time; don't you think?

Bean~ And what an awesome feeling it gives you!

Curm~ Right back at ya! Have fun with Dave Jr. back from Iraq!!!

Kimber~ How neat to remember your first Christmas. Very special!

Pirate~ God bless you too, my friend!

Jean-Luc~ Thank you! Happy Christmas!

Teresa~ I was never in a Christmas play but my son, Keegan has been in two. The last one he was Jesus. It was really cool.

*Pixie Girl*~ I adore your name and am jealous that I didn't think of it first! I like your site too and will be sure to visit there again! Say hi to Peter Pan for me!

Kid~ I agree. It brings such an epiphany to one! It's like, "Oh! Now I understand!!!"

Jada's Girl~ Yes. I miss the hometown celebrations. Maybe I'll make it back to California someday.

FTS said...

Like you said, each Christmas holds its own special memory. I can't think of one that stood out above any other.

I have so much respect for those of you who serve our country. It is a great thing you do. God be with you and bless you all.

Thanks for visiting! :)

MaY said...

As I've mentioned in my blog's the Christmas tree, the Gift giving, the Christmas masses and the Christmas food. Those 4 stand out and it stands out for a reason.

Have a blessed Christmas Mimi!

Alydyn said...

M.C. My best Christmas story was actually last year at Christmas. My brother is active duty and was at the time also. He and my sister in law live in Missouri, but since he was gone last year for Christmas she came to our house to visit. On Christmas Eve around 8:00pm she received a call from my brother to let us know he had one 1 spot out of I don't know how many guys and would be allowed to come home for 2 weeks. He arrived on Christmas morning. Since all of the family had traveled to Atlanta that year he was able to fly in there and we were all able to meet him at the airport. It was a wonderful morning with wifes, husbands, mothers, fathers sisters brothers etc standing around waiting at those steps just to see a glimpse of a soilders head! Since we were not allowed near the stairs that came up one of the USO members would yell out Here Comes One! And just the excitement in everyones faces and all the discussions amoung the families was wonderful. I spent the whole morning crying tears of joy and cheering everytime we saw a soldiers head come up the stairs! And then when it was our soildier....well I am sure you can imagine! My brother is back in Iraq again ths year and will not be able to come home, but I still feel the warmth and will remember that Christmas always..: )

An Ordinary Christian said...

I remember the first time that I heard Christmas caroles and was a Christian. So touching and moving for me. The people singing were just everyday people sitting out in a church audience, but to me they sounded like angels as they, as we, all sang "Silent Night."

M. C. Pearson said...

fts~ I love your logo. I know I'll be visiting your blog again. It is just too cool!

May~ I loved your Christmas card!!! Your post was so honest. I hope it will feel more like Christmas soon.

alydyn~ How wonderful. I love surprise husband did that to me when he was stationed in Germany...we weren't married yet. That is when he proposed. Had himself delivered in a big box to my door. I'll have to have a nice post about that one someday!

An Ordinary Christian~ I love that song. Was it a candlelight service? I think those are the best.

Fred said...

I missed this post. What great pictures and stories to go along with them. Thanks for sharing them with us.

M. C. Pearson said...

Fred~ You had a good were having a blast at Disneyworld which I am extremely jealous of. Hope you had fun!

Alydyn said...

MC. so when is the post coming about the proposal..: )