Posted tagged ‘Christmas gifts’


December 19, 2014

Dr. Steven J. Callis

Christmas Shoes; a song released in 2000 by Christian artist, New Song.

Christmas Shoes; a Donna VanLiere novel published in 2002 by St. Martin’s Press.

Christmas Shoes; a made-for-TV movie that aired in 2002 on CBS.

Perhaps you are familiar with the story line these releases have in common, a heart-rending tale of a young boy who wants to purchase a pair of expensive shoes for his terminally ill mother so she will look beautiful when she meets Jesus. Explaining to the cashier the reason for his purchase, the boy realized that he did not have enough money.  A man standing in line behind the boy was stirred in his heart with the “true meaning of Christmas,” and paid for the balance of the purchase.

My Christmas Shoes story is different from that version.  My shoes were handmade by my grandmother.  In fact, she knitted a pair for each of her grandchildren that year.  MawMaw and PawPaw lived a simple life on a meager budget, but there was no doubt at all that they loved their grandkids.  We spent many fun days at their house.

Well, I opened my simply-wrapped Christmas present to find my knitted slippers; a lovely shade of pink with a single pink button on top of the toe.  I wish I could have seen the facial expression of this ten year old kid when he laid his eyes on those shoes!  My mom and dad understood my embarrassment, but not enough to release me from the obligatory trying on of the slippers.

MawMaw always wore this innocent and unassuming smile on her face.  I dared not look over at her for fear that I might hurt her feelings, but I am certain she was adorned with that grin of personal joy and satisfaction.  Even now, I feel somewhat ashamed that it would be the only time I ever wore those shoes.

Some of you are aware from previous writings how much I love my Dad.  Well, I loved his mom and dad, too.  We cousins laugh as we reminisce from time to time about MawMaw’s sugarless fudge (it only happened once that she forgot an important ingredient), or the Christmas she gave us all silly putty – we were teenagers – and other funny incidents.

I also remember her yummy treats, her teaching me to loom a potholder, her hugs and kisses on the cheek, letting us sleep over at their house, letting me feed her parakeet, her Bible reading and praying, and her funeral at age 103.  It is a little too late now, but I wish I had those Christmas Shoes to wear on Christmas morning.  However, I am glad to have my favorite memories of this precious lady, and the Christian heritage that she effectively passed on to her children and grandchildren.  Have a blessed Christmas!


Too Much Christmas

November 18, 2014

Dr. Steven J. Callis

Edward Pola and George Wyle declared it to be the most wonderful time of the year.  Bon Jovi wishes every day could be like Christmas.  It truly is a fun and festive season of the year, one that tends to melt hearts and bring out the goodness and generosity of people.

It is exciting to be part of the drama that unfolds as Christmas Day approaches.  As I child, the few days between school letting out and the arrival of Santa seemed like weeks or even months!  In my family the area beneath the Christmas tree was barren most of the two weeks it was displayed before the Big Day, and quite sparse even on Christmas Eve.  Then Christmas morning arrived, and the number of presents had doubled or tripled overnight.  Oh, how exciting!

Some of you like to complete your Christmas shopping early, maybe as soon as January!  For the most part, however, John Q Public begins thinking about Christmas coincidentally with the stores and media, which seems to come earlier every year.  There is some indication that we go directly from Halloween to Christmas, and Thanksgiving barely receives an honorable mention anymore.

Some radio stations are already introducing Christmas music in their programming, and stores have been displaying trees and decorations for a few weeks.  They want us to be certain that we do not miss this most wonderful time of the year!

Not meaning to be critical, my apprehension is not so much with the commercialism or whatever motivates our stores and stations and town streets to begin the Christmas season in October or November.  Rather, I am concerned that people may become weary of the sounds and sights and aromas and bustle and sales ads, to the point that before it ever arrives they simply want it to be over.  Too much Christmas can make us numb to the true joy and meaning of the season, when the actual time arrives to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The oversaturation of Christmas hype can easily rob us of the peace and joy we find in the truest reason for the season.  Therefore, I will choose to slow down and take it in bit by bit, to the degree that my mind and heart can receive it with meaning, appreciation, and adoration.  I will not allow too much Christmas to spoil my appetite for the real Spirit of Christmas Day.  I hope you will join me.