Think back with me to one of your favorite Christmas seasons of all time. Most likely, it involved time with people you loved, good food, and the joy of giving and receiving gifts. The gifts we exchange with one another are small ways to share our love for each other. Just as God gave the ultimate gift by sending the Son for the payment of our sins, we give gifts to show our love for one another.
Memories of “the best Christmas gift” reside in our minds largely because of the ones who gifted the presents and the lessons they taught us. Here, ten staff members at College Park Church share about the best Christmas gift they ever received:
1. Ryan Berg (Assistant Pastor of Soul Care)
“One Christmas, I received a full drum set. This drum set was the impossible, dream gift. I used to call it my “hallelujah goal” for Christmas gifts. Receiving it on Christmas morning as a middle schooler was awesome because it showed me how much my parents loved me—so much so that they were willing to sacrifice a lot to get that for me.
Also, it showed me and affirmed in my heart that God loves to give good gifts to his kids. And by that, I mean the gift of my parents (but the drums were a pretty great gift too).”
2. Essence Brown (Assistant Director of Guest Services & Local Outreach)
“I was eighteen and my mom had just gotten divorced. We had absolutely no money at the time. But even then, I saw God provide. My mom won a Nook e-reader at work and, while I was so thankful to receive it, she was even more excited to give a gift during that dark time. Parents, both earthly and heavenly, love to give good gifts.”
3. Kenya Turner (Director of H.R. & Staff Development)
“As an eight-year-old, I was a bit of a nerd. I was in third grade and quite disinterested in toys. I loved learning, reading books, and the “new” computers. It was a huge sacrifice for my parents to give me a computer because there were five of us kids and I am the youngest. Receiving the computer showed me that my parents were passionate about and my love of learning. It also made me want to accomplish more to honor their sacrifice.”
4. Todd Fenoglio (Director of Properties)
“One year, I received an old school Erector set! I’m talkin’ full-choking-hazard, all-metal, nuts and bolts with electrical motors to boot. I created demolition wrecking cranes that could destroy my sister’s Barbie Playhouse in seconds!
I loved it because I could build something real and functional out of nothing but my imagination. It taught me patience, concentration, and organization (when I had to deconstruct and put all the parts back in their proper place).”
5. Casey Brock (Graphic Designer)
“My American Girl Doll was my favorite gift I’ve ever received because my sister and I were able to play together and purchase clothes and accessories for our dolls. My doll taught me the importance of taking good care of nice gifts. It also taught me how to use my imagination in fun and creative ways.”
6. Nate Irwin (Pastor of Global Outreach)
“One year, I received a pellet gun for Christmas. I loved it because it meant I was a big boy and could be trusted with something so dangerous! It did teach me responsibility, as well—both in the care of the gun and in using it.”
7. Don Bartemus (Pastor of Compassion)
“One year, my son and daughter-in-law gave my wife and I baby bibs. It took us a minute to understand it: the bibs were the announcement of our first grandchild! It taught me the joy of life and birth. The entire experience taught me to be sorrowful for those who struggle to conceive, and it magnified the rejoicing when God gave the precious gift of life.
8. Jodi Harvey (Student Ministries Assistant)
“One of my all-time favorite gifts is a huge piece of art—a black and white photo of a lion. I love this photograph! It hangs in my dining room and reminds me of Aslan (my favorite C.S. Lewis character). It wows me with its power, beauty, and glory—all things that point me to the One who is truly majestic.”
9. Mark Riner (Community Pastoral Resident
“When I was seventeen, I received a Bible for Christmas. The gift was so special because it was one of the last Christmas gifts my mother gave me before she passed away from cancer. I took that Bible with me everywhere until it fell apart. I still have it today!”
10. Karen Pourcho (Director of Women’s Ministries)
“The most memorable gift I ever received for Christmas was a wooden dollhouse that my dad built in secret. I still have it! I loved the dollhouse because I knew that my dad (with decorating help from my mom) had spent hours of detailed, intricate work on the project. My parents did their best to make it a surprise for me. To this day, the gift reminds me of how much they loved and cherished me.”