December Blog – Women's Ministry

As I was sitting at my desk at home going through emails, the treasure I found that day holds a sparkle I will remember for the rest of my life.

I scrolled through the junk mail, hitting delete repetitively. Just then, a photo appeared. A snowy meadow, a sleigh adorned in red garnishing, Belgium-horse sleigh team with halter/bridle, breastplate, antique brass sleigh Jingle Bells, all decorated with silver. Red accents decorated their massive and muscular bodies. Behind the horses was a wooden sleigh. The ad? Sleigh rides, half price.

I clicked on the ad and purchased four rides. Printing them out, I wrapped them in a beautiful bag that weighed nothing because there was only a paper coupon inside for two rides. I planned to take this to our family Christmas gathering and see who would go on a sleigh ride with us as we held our annual gift exchange involving opening, stealing presents and settling on a final gift to take home.

Package in hand, we trekked across town. We were warmly welcomed as we stepped across the threshold and placed our jackets in the closet, set the food on the counter and carefully placed our package under the tree in great expectation.

We had family traditions to be filled that day like eating a breakfast casserole and putting together simple puzzles at competitive speeds to see who could put them together correctly and accurately. Some of us walked while others rode the decorated Christmas golf cart to local homes to deliver a Christmas carol to endearing neighbors who opened their doors. We gave them a gift of homemade sweet bread, greetings for a Merry Christmas and off we went to the next neighbor.

As we traveled from home to home we told stories, laughed, teased one another, sang songs and enjoyed the delight of sharing time with each other. We walked side-by-side, and sometimes arms were linked, but no matter how we got from home to home, there was a deep sense of family and love. Upon returning to our parents’ home, we, of course, ate again! By that time, I had accumulated a great deal of anticipation for the gift exchange.

As our day of tradition traveled from one memory-making event to the next. We had cut-out cookie decorating and judging, which produced an awarding-winning prize for the most creative, best-executed design. A prize, you might ask? Well, we mostly just teased the winner for winning and leaving the rest of the family in their cookie dust!

Once these beautiful memories were cataloged for the day it was time … time for gifts! I couldn’t contain myself and walked up to my sister and with joy told her she wouldn’t be sorry if she chose the lightweight bag tucked in at the base of the tree. One after another, family members went to the tree, picking up packages, feeling the weight, looking at size and shape, and choosing just the “right” gift. Since my gift didn’t feel like there was anything inside … everyone passed it up.

On my sister's turn, she briefly paused as she approached the tree, not sure what she would pick, and then she took the lightweight decorated bag. She opened it and jumped up and down – she got the sleigh ride! She and her husband were so pleased. And so were we. My sister and I hugged when the exchange ended, relieved no one had stolen her gift. We huddled together, planning a date to go to Breckenridge to take our sleigh ride together.

We went that January and enjoyed such a blessed day – a beautiful blue sky, champaign snow (the kind that sparkles like diamonds) the sound of the horse’s breath, the bells on their harness jingling, as we glided over the snow in the beauty of the snow-filled meadow. Bunny tracks, as well as other remnants of animal footprints pressed into the snow of the quiet and peaceful trail. So much joy was shared. Hugs, laughs and lots of beautiful conversation. Of course, we gathered afterward for another meal, just the four of us. It was a day of precious blessings and sweet memories.


That March, on my husband’s birthday, my sister’s husband went into the hospital to see why he wasn’t feeling well. He never got to go back home. Jesus welcomed him home 13 days after he walked through the ER doors. That sweet memory two months earlier on in January was the last time we saw him in person. We are so thankful for the gift of that day … for the memories and the time God gave us.

Bob is with Jesus. He was an incredible believer who walked a life that embodied love for others. He contributed all he could to help at his church, his family, friends and served others in Honduras for over 10 years. He loved well, he walked life with others and his eyes were always on the LORD. I will never forget God’s gift to spend a day with my sister and Bob.

God sent His Son so many years ago; He gave us His gift, Jesus, who came wrapped in swaddling clothes. He delivered us from an eternity we could not pay for, even though he arrived on earth in total humility. He was here for a short 33 years, but His light, His gift and His redemption for us is eternal.

Today, as I remember Bob, my brother-in-law, I understand the “glimpse of time” we get to be here, and how we are invited to follow, to be a part of God’s eternal plan. We have a gift to receive – our LORD. He has also given us one another to walk life with. I am praying that you see others as a gift, and you receive or remember the gift our Savior gave through His birth, life, death and resurrection – He who redeems us and welcomes us into His Kingdom if we believe and confess Him as LORD and Savior of our life.

- Traci Hollingsworth