We had what most would call a great Christmas. Our oldest daughter and her two kids came down and spent their first ever Christmas in Mayberry. My favorite barista surprised us and came in Christmas Eve. He and his new girlfriend were not supposed to arrive until the next day. The barista even came bearing gifts!

We had smoked turkey (fake ham), sugar cookies with sprinkles (I guess I’m a winner) and fudge … I think there were some vegetables and something to do with fruit, but I mostly stayed close to the cornbread dressing, rolls and desserts.

Santa came, filled our stockings with stuff that did not really matter too much — and I cooked breakfast.

We had a Christmas Eve service at church, played our annual game of Monopoly and drank lots of good coffee. I got everything I wanted including three new books, some flies (for fishing), a TCU coffee mug (for all the good coffee we drink). I got a pocket knife that said, “World’s Greatest Grandpa,” and a plastic case that will allow me to organize all the screws and loose things in the bottom of my tool box.

I did not get anything PINK or any fuzzy socks. The Yeti Rambler we wanted to get our oldest, the Presbyterian, was sold out (it’s on back order). Obviously, that tin cup is this year’s Cabbage Patch doll. Maybe, best of all, Christmas is paid for and therefore, I don’t have to feel guilty.

During the holiday break the 17 year old that lives at our house got a rejection letter from a prestigious private university. She also got an acceptance letter from a prestigious private university along with some hefty scholarships.

We got a million Christmas cards, some with photos and one with $20 suggesting we go buy a hamburger. I always like it when we get that card. The people that send it always tell us how much they love us and how effective we are in ministry. We love these people just as much as they love us. It’s true, life is about the little things.

Another couple of friends sent me a care package that included a Santa hat, my first ever.

Our church gave us a great gift, which made us feel both loved and appreciated. We saw a lot of people we have been praying about at our Christmas services in the last week. God is at work!

I only gave one gift that had anything to do with the kind of love that was laid in that manger … maybe that’s a “win.” I’m not really sure. It makes me wonder how do we really measure a “good” Christmas?

If I look at Luke 2 I can say, like the shepherds, that I did see Jesus this Christmas season. I see Him often and every time I do He impresses me just like He did those guys. I did like those first evangelists; I praised God and I hope He was glorified by my actions. I also found myself like Mary, pondering, thinking about all that had happened hoping that something new was birthed into my life and that I will be forever changed by Christmas 2015.

Happy New Year!


Ken Ansell serves as a pastor in a small central Texas rural community. He is a local missionary and he fly fishes when he can.