Family Christmas partyMy earliest memories of Christmas involve family and friends in fellowship around the holidays.  We made homemade candies, snacks, and goodies, and took them to family and friends who were celebrating Christmas. At my Gran’s house, we would set up the tree (originally the aluminum tree) and color wheel (it’s for the aluminum trees; you couldn’t put lights on it because it was metal). We shared a meal and sang Christmas carols and Gran’s favorite hymns.

Gran was no longer able to go to church in her wheelchair, but she loved the worship time shared in her home with my aunt and her sisters leading the singing, and playing the accordion and keyboard.  My childhood best friend’s Mom had an open house on Christmas Eve where we all brought snacks, and she always had the best decorated sugar cookies and an open heart to share God’s love with others.   We grew up going to church and Vacation Bible School together, then later taught in VBS.

It was a simpler time of unlocked doors and allowing us kids to play outside until dark…But I truly believe it was a time of learning how to share God’s love and blessings with others.  We give gifts to symbolize the gifts the 3 Wise Men took to Christ. But it has become so much more now—people take out loans to get the biggest and best gifts.  Nothing I remember that truly reminds me of Christmas shouts how much money someone spent on a gift to me or my family.  We learned how to share with others and God has blessed us in return.

As a matter of fact, my husband and I don’t usually exchange gifts anymore; we plan a trip together to make more memories and spend time with each other or our family.  We gave up on that crazy madness of trying to read each other’s minds, obtaining or giving the “perfect gift,” and now we enjoy the season of Christmas and celebrating Jesus with each other, family and friends.

Seek out time with God and bless others as you go about this crazy, busy season.  Jesus is truly the reason for the season.

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Mounds Bars by La Moine Schrib
This recipe was always at the Shipman Christmas on the dessert table when I was growing up, and now I am the one usually bringing it.  It’s a family favorite of mine.

Serves: 10-20

1 stick butter/margarine
1 pkg graham crackers plus 2 extra full crackers, crushed
¼ cup sugar
1 heaping cup coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pkg milk chocolate chips
1 tsp peanut butter

Melt stick of butter/margarine in 9×13” pan at 350 degrees.  After melted, sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over top.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with coconut then drizzle sweetened condensed milk over top and bake until golden.  Allow to cool.  Melt chocolate chips in microwave (about 1 min) until wet looking.  Stir in peanut butter.  Ice bars with chocolate and cut into squares.

This post was written by Paula Gowman. To read more about her, click here