Saturday, December 3, 2011

What Does Christmas Mean to You?

Guest post by Marlayne Giron

I didn't get to experience the "magic" of Christmas until I was 37. As a Jewish child growing up in a nominally religious home; my mom steadfastly refused to get a Christmas tree (or Chanukah Bush) for the holidays. Each year of my childhood Christmas would come and go and I often remember wishing that Santa Claus would overlook the fact that I was Jewish and just once come down our chimney and bring a tree, stockings and presents. When I became a believer in Jesus at the age of 17, Christmas took on an entirely new meaning. I was outraged, outraged at the rank commercialism of it all! And I told my fellow employees at a shipping company near LAX on my temp job so in a single-spaced, page-long diatribe (typed on my break then photocopied and distributed throughout the office). Needless to say, my supervisor was not pleased. My first few Christmases as a believer were much more meaningful but also lonely. I had moved out when I was 19 and lived on my own. I didn't have enough time off at my job to join my parents at my sister and brother-in-law's home when I was 21 during Christmas and having no friends, I spent one of the most pathetic nights one Christmas Eve crying myself to sleep on my couch with only a candle and the Lord to keep me company.

I got to experience my first real Christmas was when I was 22 and had begun dating a nice young man who later turned out to be my husband. I was invited to sleep over his parents home on the pull-out couch and when he thought I was asleep (I wasn't) he snuck downstairs and filled a stocking for me on behalf of Santa Claus. For the next 15 Christmases, we celebrated with his family but in December of 1997, I got to experience the full magic of Christmas for it was on this Christmas Eve that God gave us our daughter, Karina. She was 3-1/2 at the time and experiencing Christmas with a family of her own for the very first time. We took her around the block to show her the Christmas lights; her proud (and scared) new daddy carrying her on his shoulders while she shouted, "It's the Kwissmass!" over and over again with delight. We had the tree, a Candy Cane stocking I had gotten just for her and presents from us (and Santa Claus). What we also had was the flu bug, which had grown to epidemic proportions in Orange County. Our entire family and extended family got hit with it and we were not able to share Christmas morning with anyone until a full week later when we were all well. At the Christmas family reunion two weeks later, we introduced our daughter as a surprise to the entire family.

Having felt "deprived" as a child, I was bound and determined to give my new daughter both the spiritual significance of Christ's birth as well as the full magic of Christmas for as long as humanly possible. I wrapped her gifts from Santa in different paper (no bows - they would get squished in the sleigh) and used different handwriting. When she mailed off a letter to the North Pole, I made sure she found a reply in her stocking. I was so good at the Santa Claus thing that I almost had myself convinced that Santa Clause was real and had my daughter believing in it up to the ripe old age of 12 (yes 12!!). The year after the movie "Polar Express" came out. She decided to test the waters (she was 11). I just happened to see her writing a note to leave on the coffee table in the "Christmas room" and when I looked, I discovered it was a letter to Santa asking him for a bell off his sleigh. It was 4:00 pm on Christmas Eve! I ran out the door in a panic, raced to my nearest Michael's Craft Store and nabbed the last container of giant sized jingle bells. I found a little drawstring pouch and ribbon that said, "Believe" on it. She opened it the next morning with delight and I breathed a sigh of relief; safe for another year! To be quite honest I was actually amazed that she still believed and wondered if she wasn't just doing it for my benefit. I couldn't believe that none of her friends at school hadn't spilled the beans yet. In the end; she found out the following Christmas by going into my closet behind my clothes and discovered where I hid all the gifts before wrapping. She took in all in stride but I was devastated. No more Santa Claus. I had only gotten to experience him through the eyes of my daughter for nine short years. It still bums me out.

Christmas is still a blessed time. We have created our own traditions such as listening to The Gift on Christmas Eve in front of the fire and tree while my honey and I cuddle on the couch. Most of all; I have grown to increasingly appreciate the true miracle of Christmas. The fact that the infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent God of the Universe deigned to come in the most helpless of forms and chose to be born in the most lowly of circumstances without even the benefit of modern medicine. I still find it hard to wrap my head around it. Jesus submitted himself not only to the womb and birth but had to endure years in which he could not even vocally express himself; soiled himself until potty trained and then was raised by fallible humans. He didn't have to do it. He could have chosen to been born into a palace; but he chose to identify with us in all of our sufferings and helplessness. Thank you, Lord, for the most precious gift of all...Your Son.

Marlayne's Bio -
Marlayne Giron is a Messianic Jew who found Christ as her Messiah at the age of 17 while watching Franco Zefferelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth” on television in 1977. After coming to faith, she began to read the Old Testament for the first time and was amazed to discover that believing in Jesus was a very Jewish thing to do and not a betrayal of her Jewish religion as she had been taught by her parents and the rabbi’s in her synagogues.

In the course of her life she has had many small ”miracles” occur; the first major one being coming to faith in Christ when she hadn’t even been looking for it and with a built-in bias against Him. The second was meeting and marrying her future husband Michael whom she had prayed for by name as well as writing and illustrating a story (with his image in it) five years before meeting him. The third is the publication of The Victor after almost 30 years with no previous publication credits to her name. All three of these significant milestones in her life occurred on the Easter holidays. The fourth was becoming a mother of an adopted daughter on Christmas Eve in 1997.

Marlayne Giron is a full-time career secretary, wife and mother who likes to read, cook, entertain, draw and scrapbook. She is the author of "The Victor, A Tale of Betrayal, Love & Sacrifice"; "Make a Wish (Stories Written for Real People Where They are the Star)"; and "In Plain Sight"; her first Amish fiction.

Thank you for allowing me to share your story, Marlyane.  I was inspired by it and I'm sure others will be too. 


Cassie Simmons said...

What a lovely post. A great reminder of what Christmas is REALLY all about. Thanks for sharing, Marlayne.

Cindy Weber said...

Marlayne, thanks for sharing your wonderful story. I can't imagine what it was like not being able to celebrate Christmas as a child. I'm glad your dreams came true. May this year be especially magic for you and your family.

Mary Beth said...

Enjoyable post, Marlayne & Anne. Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Marlayne Giron said...

Thanks everyone for your nice comments. If you would like to receive my newsletter (an example of which you read on this blog), please email me at: and let me know. My blog is

A Merry Christmas to you all!

Mark D said...

Great post, Anne! Hope you have a good Christmas.

Love & Peace,

Anne Patrick said...

Thanks for dropping by ladies. Glad you enjoyed the post.

Anne Patrick said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Mark. Thanks for dropping by.