It was Christmas Eve 1985. I was 5 years old and I sat in the midst of a sea of presents. I remember that day like it was yesterday, because it was my first Christmas with my new family, it was my first tree and I received my first baby doll.
My late cousin Carissa Hamaty (cancer robbed her of life at a very young age) read the real Christmas story -- the birth of Jesus. I remember how pretty she was, and how I thought she must be an angel.
I can still see her sitting there reading while sitting on the fireplace. She, along with Grandma Sarah and Papa Martin, celebrate the birth of our Savior with Him now and they do so in person.
I also remember sitting on the floor with my new cousins and looking around at the room full of people. Although I didn't know them all and, of course, I didn't truly understand everything that was going on, I still felt so incredibly loved.
I have heard many stories over the years about my first Christmas. It seems as though all of the adults were so excited that I was coming into the family because I would be the baby of the family.
Many of them had been told by grandma that I didn't have anything, no toys or clothes or anything when she and Papa went to court to get temporary custody of me.
So everyone went crazy that year buying stuff for me, especially Carissa. She, Aunt Elaine and Uncle Jim were the ones to give me my first baby doll. That baby doll had hair just like mine and I remember thinking she was the prettiest little doll I had ever seen. As a matter of fact I still have one of the baby blankets I wrapped her in. I wish I could remember what I named her.
Amidst the excitement of all my toys there are still things that are fresh in my mind. I remember the joy of watching others opening gifts, laughing and smiling.
Although I was only 5, I somehow knew how important it was that we all understood and talked about the birth of Jesus, and what His birth meant for our lives.
What does His birth mean for our lives? What does it mean for your life? The Bible says that His birth means that He is our Savior. He came to not only save us from our sins, but to teach us how to love one another and, most importantly, for us to understand what it means to have a personal relationship with Him.
It is amazing to think about Jesus as a baby. I bet He was the prettiest baby any of those shepherds and wise men had ever laid eyes on. It is a glorious thought to know that God loved us so much that He would send Jesus in the precious form of a baby, so that we may learn about Him as a child and then watch Him become the Savior we all so desperately need.
I may not have understood all of that at the age of 5, but because the story of Jesus was not only read in our family, His life applications were applied to our family.
I know to this day, He is the best present any of us could ever receive.
Julie Wells is the editorial assistant in the newsroom at the Rockdale Citizen. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.