This is a guest post by Jeff Land. Jeff is Editorial Project Leader for LifeWay Kids. He is married with four children and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Find Jeff's personal blog at LandLife, follow him on Twitter @JeffLand and Facebook. He writes this post for NFI's "The 12 Dads of Christmas." If you are interested in guest blogging for us, send an email.
“Christmas won’t be as big this year,” my mom’s constant reminder rung out in my mind. She and my dad were terribly afraid my brothers and I would be disappointed. She daily reminded us that this year was going to be different.
It was Fall in Mississippi, just before Thanksgiving break and I was in eighth grade. My big brother Trae picked me up from school and told me that we had to go to Jackson to the hospital. We picked up my little brother, Bobby, and then Trae explained to us that our Dad had to have open-heart surgery. We were scared, but didn’t quite understand the severity of the situation. Trae was very worried. He was the only one that really understood how serious my dad’s condition was.
Dad came through the quadruple by-pass surgery just fine. He was recovering well, but in the midst of his sickness, he also lost his job. Our family of five was surviving on my mom’s schoolteacher salary. Because my parents had always given us huge Christmases, my mom felt the constant need to remind us that this year would be small.
Christmas morning came and we opened our presents. I honestly don’t think I noticed we had fewer than normal. I was just really thankful for the opportunity God had given us to keep our dad here on earth! We were headed out to my grandparents’ house for breakfast when I noticed a huge box on our porch.
I yelled for my brothers and we opened the box. Inside was a new Sega™. Still more, our secret Santa had chosen specific gifts for my brothers and me. I got a new “ornament” for my prized aquarium. I don’t know if my parents ever knew who brought those gifts on Christmas Eve but I certainly know we were impressed by the generosity.
I’ve had so many great Christmases over the years, but this one has always stood out as pivotal. It was the Christmas that we were all together and things could have been so different. It was also the year that a generous friend took a few extra steps to make sure the Land boys had an amazing Christmas.
What's your most memorable Christmas and why?