Wednesday, December 16, 2015

An Old Fashioned Christmas

By: Shari A. Miller

Here at Woman to Woman Ministries, we offer a wonderful quarterly Christian magazine.This magazine is filled with hope and encouragement in Jesus; it is written by the staff here at Woman to Woman, as well as gracious guest contributors. The story below was written by me and published in the 2014 winter issue of our magazine, I wanted to share it with you and give you a taste of what you can find in our magazine. It's a very special story to me, as it is loosely based upon the story of my sweet mama, Mary Ann, who was born on Christmas day. I hope you enjoy the story of,  An Old Fashioned Christmas.

This magazine would make the perfect Christmas gift for that special someone in your life. If you would like to order a yearly subscription of Woman to Woman Magazine, please take a moment to stop by our blog for more information.

Emily and Daniel loved to go to their Grandma Mary Ann’s house and this day was no exception. They were especially excited to see her today, because they were going to help decorate her Christmas tree. Their mom dropped them off at Grandma’s early that morning. They hurriedly shut the car doors and waved good bye to their mom as she drove out of site.

They ran into the house and greeted their grandma with a great big hug and rushed downstairs to bring up her Christmas decorations. They set up the tree and fluffed out the branches exactly to their grandmother’s approval. Just as Emily started taking out the Christmas ornaments Daniel looked outside the sliding glass window and yelled in delight, “Look it’s snowing!! It’s snowing!! What a perfect day to be decorating your tree grandma!”

The sparkling twinkle lights were hung on the tree and then the garland. One by one they placed the glass ornaments on her tree, and smiled in delight. They knew these ornaments were very special to their grandmother, because they belonged to her mother, so they made sure to handle them with extra care. The three of them stood back to admire their work. Grandma in approval said, “Why, it’s the prettiest tree I’ve ever seen.”

Grandma told them to sit at the kitchen table while she made some hot coco for them. They gathered round and drank the delectable chocolate that warmed them to their very core. The children asked their grandma to tell them her favorite Christmas story, the one they never got tired of hearing, the one that happened a very long time. Grandma willingly obliged and began to tell the story of, An Old Fashioned Christmas, the same one that her mother told her so many years before.

In 1931 the Peaster family lived on a wheat farm in Ingalls, Kansas. The house they lived in was small and cozy, just right for Rueben and Irene, and their four children, Ruby, Billy, Helen, and Betty. It was almost Christmas time and the children were getting excited for Santa to come.

Winter had been especially harsh for all in their small farming community. The glistening white snow seemed to fall without stopping, causing drifts to be as high as barns in some places, making travel especially difficult. When the snow wasn’t falling the temperatures dropped to a bitter cold, making outside chores especially challenging for the men in the families to complete.

Rueben and Irene sat at their kitchen late one night discussing what they would do for Christmas that year. Money was especially tight due to the poor wheat crop the summer before. The blowing dust and the scorching heat during the summer months made it next to impossible to bring in good crops.
Reuben sighed in frustration as he spoke to his lovely wife Irene, “I’m sorry dear, but it looks like this Christmas will be slim pickens for our children. We just don’t have enough money to buy Christmas presents.” Irene gently grasped her husband’s hand and said, “Rueben the children will be just fine. Please don’t worry about them. We all know that the true meaning of Christmas is more than giving gifts to one another. It’s about celebrating our Savior’s birth.” Reuben gently patted his wife’s pregnant belly and said, “You’re always right my dear. We better get you off to bed, that yougen you’re taken care of is about ready to come any day now.”

Christmas Eve arrived and the house was bustling with activity. Billy was helping his father set up the Christmas tree and mom and the girls were busy sorting through the decorations. Once the tree was decorated the whole family admired it’s beauty as they sat round the living room. Just then, Irene felt a sharp pain shooting through her stomach. She knew it was time and told Reuben to go fetch the doctor.

The children were so excited for what was to come; they knew that soon they would have a brand new baby brother or sister. They quickly went to bed and were so eager with anticipation they could hardly sleep. It was early Christmas morn when Rueben arrived with the doctor. The doctor quickly went in to help Irene deliver the baby.

Reuben paced back and forth in front of the tree, just waiting and praying for his wife and child. The children woke and quickly ran into the living room, talking a mile a minute wanting to know if their baby brother or sister had arrived yet. When they heard their mother cry out in anguish from their parent’s room, little Betty ran straight into her father’s arms, and started crying from fear. Reuben stroked Betty’s hair and told her, “Don’t cry sweetie everything is going to be alright. God is taking care of your mama.”

Reuben shut the French doors to the living room, and walked back over to his little family. As he looked at them he cleared his throat, and smiled big at his children. “I think some of you have forgotten what day it is,” he said with a chuckle. The children screamed with delight and in unison they all said, “Christmas! It’s Christmas!” They ran over to their stockings hung by the fireplace and removed them with great care. One by one they removed the precious gifts they found, a candy cane, an orange, a new pair of mittens, and a brand new five scent piece. The children squealed in happiness because of their new treasures.

However, when they looked under the tree, their smiles soon faded as there were no presents to be found. “What happened,” cried little Helen, “Did Santa forget us this year?” No my child said Reuben. “We will all be getting a present very soon, we must be patient. Before this present arrives we must remember something very important, Christmas is about more than getting presents under the tree, it’s about celebrating Jesus’ birth.”

At that moment, he reached for the family Bible on the coffee table and opened it up to a story that seemed very fitting for this Christmas day, with a voice that resonated loud and clear he began to read the story of Jesus’ birth.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:8-20 (NIV)
“And that my children, is what Christmas is all about, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” As soon as Reuben spoke those words the loud cry of a newborn baby rang throughout the house. “It’s baby Jesus!” cried Betty. “No it’s not baby Jesus silly, said Ruby. “It’s mama! She had her baby!” The children leapt up in excitement and begged to go see their mother. “Just a moment children, let me go check on your mother children,” said father.
Reuben motioned for the children to come in and they quietly walked into the bedroom one by one and sat at her bedside. Lying next to their mama was a newborn baby wrapped in a blanket and cooing ever so gently.  “Children, I’d like you to meet your sister, Mary Ann,” said mother. Rueben carefully passed around baby Mary Ann, so each child would have a turn holding her. “She’s my dolly,” said Helen. “You were right, daddy. We did get our Christmas present after all,” said Billy. “Indeed we did,” said mama. “Indeed we did,” said Reuben with a smile.
“And that,” said Grandma Mary Ann, “Is the story of, An Old Fashioned Christmas. My family didn’t have a lot of money to give in the way of presents, but they had love and devotion for one another, and especially for Christ.”
“I just loved your story,” said Daniel. “Me too, every time I hear it I can just imagine them passing you around to your brother and sisters grandma,” said Emily. “I wish I could go back in time and be there on that special day. I would have loved to seen you as a little baby. Thank you for reminding us that Christmas is more than presents and Santa. It’s about Jesus coming to earth as a new born baby, to one day die on the cross and save us from our sins,” said Daniel.
“Indeed,” said grandma. “That really is what Christmas is all about.”

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  1. Shari, lovely story! Thanks for reposting it and for hosting each week. Christmas blessings!

    1. You're so welcome Donna! Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Thanks for sharing this story, Shari! I'm planning to come back later today, with a cup of hot cocoa! to read and enJOY it! I also just subscribed to the digital edition of your wonderful magazine! Advent blessings to you and your family!

    1. I hope you enjoyed the story, June. Thank you so much for supporting Woman to Woman Ministries.

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