In this special feature story, Author and CCE Contributor Billy Ray Parrish captures the true expression of Christmas. From all of us from the Christian Children’s Empowerment(CCE) family, we wish you, your family, friends, and community the merriest Christmas. God bless each of you.
–Jacqui Wilson, CCE Founder
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government
shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
People tell many great Christmas stories around the world, and thanks to technology and its advancements, we can communicate these stories from one end of the Earth to the next. Some childhood favorite stories are Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. For decades, these movies have become a part of the regular Christmas tradition as many wait in anticipation for their TV airing. But while these stories stand out as childhood favorites, I want to share a different childhood Christmas story, one in which I learned one of my most prolific lessons that had the undercurrents of a spiritual life lesson.
Now, this Christmas memory carries a bit of the bad along with the good. One year, like most children, my brother and I wanted to see what gifts we had for Christmas Day. Yet, my parents had not placed the presents underneath the tree. One night, we snuck to the place where the presents were hidden away. We opened a present. It was a present we had requested for a long time. We were very happy. We were so happy and loud that we gave ourselves away as we ran into the living room. Of course, our parents discovered what we had done. They were very mad concerning our actions. I am sure we are not the first children to have snuck in to open Christmas presents beforehand. But regardless, our parents left us with a valuable lesson concerning our actions.
After our parents discovered what we did, they returned the gift to the store. I can remember the hurt in my dad’s eyes, as a tear sat on his lid. Before then, I had never seen my dad cry, and as a young child, you do not expect this. It taught me that no one is made of stone. I knew that something that could make my dad cry was certainly wrong.
“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard,
and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
Despite our behavior and the returning of the gift, I knew my parents love for us was great. Although we did wrong, they forgave us and still did their best to make sure we were happy. Because in their love and mercy, they did buy us another similar gift, albeit much smaller. This has always stood out to me. When I think about this moment in my life, I am reminded of what Christmas is all about – love.
Christmas is the day that we set aside to worship how the Creator of the world, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, came to Earth. Although a king, he was born to a virgin mother and placed in the simplest of beds, a manger made of straw. He came to Earth for the benefit of man, sacrificing to live like any other person on Earth and to give His life for us as the final sacrifice. The story of Christ’s love, coming in the form of a child and giving all He had, is the definitive example of love and happiness, the best gift ever given. Therefore, how my parents chose to deal with our actions will always stand out to me, and forever, this will be one of my best Christmas gifts and stories, a story of love.
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus
came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for
this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth
all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on
him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the
only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
—1 Timothy 1:15-17
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born and raised in Tennessee, Billy Ray Parrish strives to live the two most important life lessons he has learned — honesty and to be the good neighbor. The author of the book Truths and Life Lessons for a Better Tomorrow: A Godly Guide for a Secular World, Billy desires to help others understand the need for God in their daily life, as he has come to learn through his struggles with Chiari malformation. As he continues to live with the effects of Chiari malformation, he is determined to fulfill God’s call to share His Word as expressed through his personal experiences. To see Billy’s mission in action through his book, click here.