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Answer Line: Reflecting on best Christmases ever

Dec. 23, 2016 at 10:59 p.m.


Merry Christmas Eve, dear readers.

This Christmas marks almost eight years since I became the shepherd of this space in the News-Journal, and I want you all to know what an ongoing gift that is to me.

I started writing Answer Line shortly after I quit working full time, when my oldest son was born. Working at home writing this column has made it possible for me to spend precious time with him and his little brother, and I thank you for helping make that possible.

In honor of Christmas, I asked some of the amazing women in my life to tell me about the best Christmas gifts they ever received. It's no surprise their responses weren't about material items:

Cindy Clark, an associate at the Oakland Heights Baptist Church Family Life Center and my friend since I was 18 and worked in child care there:

"It was an ordinary day on Nov. 14. I went in the hospital for a common surgery and was to go home the next day. … I made it through surgery fine and hours later was taken to a room. All of the sudden my chest started hurting. The nurses did an EKG and realized something wasn't right. Dr. Scott just happened to be in the hospital close and came. After CPR, shocking me, and surgery, I came around after being gone 11 minutes. I have been told by many that most people do not survive what I went through. I am so thankful that God answered the prayers of many. I am so blessed to be able to have another year this Christmas with my family and friends. I am so excited that I got a second chance at life. I would like to give a big thank you to all the nurses, Dr. Scott, Dr. Greifenkamp, Dr. Germanwala, Dr. Lin, and Dr. Secrest for allowing God to save my life through them."

Karen Tutt, friend extraordinaire, wonderful momma, mentor for Texas School Ready program:

"When I think about the best Christmas present I ever received, I go back to Christmas 2002. This is a gift I cannot hold; I cannot bring it out to show others or display it as a decoration around my house. This gift I am thinking about is the gift of 'time.' To be even more specific it is the gift of time with my dad. You see, that was his last Christmas with our family. We did not know it would be the last one … it was a happy time with all three of his daughters expecting babies! Yes, all three of us.

On this day we opened presents as a family, we ate lunch as a family, we spent time together as a family. Little did any of us know this would be the last Christmas as a whole, complete family. I cherish the gift of time. What a precious gift indeed. I am thankful, oh so thankful. I don't remember any particular gift I opened that morning but I do remember dad's infectious smile, his warm hug, and his gentle words, 'I love you sister.' Time is the best Christmas present ever."

Dorothy Horne, author of "Glimpses of Grace: Walking in Hope Through Alzheimer's and Ordinary Days," retired teacher and sweet, encouraging friend:

Dorothy pointed me to a blog entry she made in 2011, not too long after her husband, Byron, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It was a sad Christmas for them, but my friend found Christ in the faces of the men and women she and Byron helped serve breakfast to at Newgate Mission.

"I think that's what we're all supposed to really desire and ask for — our daily bread — not all the other stuff. That's what Jesus taught his disciples.

"Some of us are so incredibly blessed that we tend to think only in terms of what we don't have. I know I do. Those who are less fortunate seem to be more thankful for what they DO have, like a place to come in out of the cold and rain.

"Perhaps the less one has, the thinner the veil. Instead of 'six degrees of separation' from God, perhaps there are just one or two. Sometimes all of our blessings block The Way.

"Yes, we received a priceless gift on Christmas morning — the eyes, just for a moment, to see the Christ child incarnate in His people, and in a most unlikely place. Kind of like being born in a manger."

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to answerline@news-journal.com, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.

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