A Southern Gospel Christmas: Christmas Memories from Your Favorite Artists

Written by Staff on December 9, 2019 – 6:46 pm -

A Southern Gospel Christmas: Christmas Memories from Your Favorite Artists

Santa is with Matt Fouch on his couch celebrating Christmas

It’s that time again. Christmas is a time when family and friends come together and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift to humankind. While I enjoy opening presents, listening to music, and eating great food, I have realized more and more that none of that matters much compared to Jesus and family.

 

Over the years my family has struggled financially and experienced loss, but we always manage to have a fun and meaningful holiday season. I will always cherish being with family playing games, eating food, and going to look at Christmas lights. It is my hope that reading the following memories from your favorite Southern gospel artists will get you in the spirit of Christmas and remind you to cherish the time you have with family and friends. 

Merry Christmas…

 

Matt Fouch (Legacy Five): “Being able to now be the head of my family and read the story of Jesus birth on Christmas Day to my family.”

 

Christmas

Inspirations

Matt Dibler (Inspirations): “My favorite Christmas memory was a tradition we had. Every Christmas Eve we would turn out all the lights and use only candles and the lights from the Christmas tree. We would sing Christmas Carols and read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and have family prayer. I think of it every year..”

 

Jeff Collins at Christmas

Jeff and Vickie Collins

Jeff Collins (Producer): “I have several great Christmas memories, as my parents made Christmas very special for my sister and I throughout our childhood. But there was one particular year that was extra special. I was around 11 or 12 years old and had asked Santa Claus for a minibike. After what seemed like years, Christmas Eve arrived, and I was hoping and praying Santa would make my wish come true. Lo and behold, on Christmas morning when Mom and Dad let us come down the hallway and around the corner to the living room, there sat my minibike. I was so happy. I was itching all morning to get outside to ride it, but first we had to open all of our presents, eat breakfast, and then finally go outside. 

We finally got the bike out in the carport and Dad says, ‘Start her up, Jeff.’ This minibike was a bare-bones kind of minibike with a basic Briggs and Stratton lawn mower engine. Anyhow, I started pulling on it, trying to start it. I pulled until my arm was like Jell-O. No start. My dad pulled on it for another 30 minutes. A neighbor was there by then, pulled on it for 30 minutes. Man, was I getting frustrated. I should mention here that there is an on and off switch between the handlebars and the seat. We had it in the ‘on’ position. Another neighbor had showed up by now. It was getting close to lunch. He reached down and haphazardly turned the switch to the ‘off’ position, pulled the engine, and it started. Just like that. But finally… I got to ride my minibike. I was one happy 11 year old.”

 

Arthur Rice of SGMA

Arthur Rice

Arthur Rice (Kingdom Heirs): “In the fall of 1987, my dad had a brain aneurysm. I was with the Kingsmen at the time and they had folks praying all over the country. He came out of the surgery great and the only paralysis was his memory. He didn’t know who we were or what had happened. Just before Christmas he said it was like he heard a switch in his head go on and he started remembering us little by little. He was able to come home for Christmas and shortly after that all his memory returned. The Lord gave us 14 more years with him. It was a very thankful Christmas.”

 

Mark Trammell Quartet

Mark Trammell (Mark Trammell Quartet): “The year my dad and mom went without Christmas so they could buy my first bass guitar. I didn’t know it until years later. Priceless lesson in unselfish lifestyle.”

 

Brandy and Josh Feemster and friends

Josh Feemster: “I think it would have to be the last Christmas with my grandma. She was so much fun. This particular Christmas she stayed at our house. My dad, brothers and myself went to a Christmas event without my mom and grandma. She just wasn’t feeling well so they decided to stay home. This particular trip was memorable because of the sleeting going on during the drive,kinda rare in Alabama in December. Anyway, it was Christmas Eve and when we got back to our house Santa had already been there. All of our presents were out and Grandma convinced me that she helped him unload them. She was the greatest. We had a great time and I’ll never forget eating her chicken and dressing one last time the next day. Within a month she was in heaven. I don’t really remember what toys I got but I’ll always remember how happy she was to be with us.”

 

ChristmasLisa Williamson (The Williamsons): “When I was 16, my family and I were going through a pretty tough time. My mom had broken her ankle so our spirits were down. We hated to even ask, but my sister Rachel and I really wanted a PlayStation for Christmas. We didn’t want to get our hopes up, but we sure were hoping to see that thing under the tree on Christmas morning. A week or so before Christmas, Mom came into the living room on her crutches wearing a brand new tee shirt. The back of it had a very bright, colorful, and recognizable logo…PlayStation. We kept asking her where she got her shirt, but all she would do was smile. Needless to say, we opened a PlayStation on Christmas morning.”

 

Randy and Caroline Crawford

Randy Crawford (Formerly of The Kingsmen): “Not so much a memory as it is something I miss. My grandmother on my father’s side always used to have a “sock” for us grandkids. It truly was a sock. But it was filled with fruits, candy, and old fashioned peppermint stick candy. We used to cut a hole in our oranges and suck the juice out through the peppermint candy. I miss my grandmother so much, and love she put into our ‘socks’.”

 

Ben, Maria, Elizabeth Wolfe

Maria Kramer Wolfe (The Kramers): “My favorite Christmas memory, or tradition, is putting up the Christmas tree while listening to traditional Christmas music and baking Christmas cookies. I love family time the most, so getting together with family during the Christmas season is a rich blessing.”

 

Steve Ladd

Steve Ladd (The Old Paths): “My favorite Christmas memory is my first Christmas as a father. Christmas took on a whole new meaning to me since then… my children’s face and the excitement made me not care if I ever got another gift.”

 

November 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

November 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

Tammy Burns (Troy Burns Family): “My favorite Christmas memory was 1974. My oldest brother got married right after Christmas and our whole family was together for the last time on this earth. It seemed like it was the happiest time we had ever had with family and friends. That next year my little brother, Tommy, went home to be with the Lord after battling cancer for 12 years. He was only 12. I will always cherish that Christmas.”

 

Judy Nelon: “Rex and I had been dating a while. We spent a few days with his 98-year-old mom and his other family members in his hometown Asheville, N. C., during Christmas. It was the sweetest time. We exchanged gifts and it was interesting –  we gave each other exactly the same Christmas card, he bought his in Atlanta and I bought mine in Nashville. It said ‘Only You.’ We knew from the start we were a match. As he was driving me back to Nashville we stopped in Waffle House. He asked if I had expected a engagement ring for Christmas and I was honest and said. ‘Yes, I did.’ He said, ‘Okay then, will you marry me?’ He had plans for a ring but he couldn’t wait. He was the funniest, sweetest and most unique man. I’ll always love Rex Nelon.”

 

Butler Music Group 2019 Diamond Awards Top Five nominees

Les Butler

Les Butler (Butler Music Group): “Christmas 1971, I was nine. My parents bought me an upright piano. Little did I know that instrument would play such an integral part in my life.”

 

Riley Harrison Clark (Tribute Quartet): “Every year while growing up in Oklahoma, my family went to Silver Dollar City for Christmas. So many memories were made and even more funnel cakes were eaten. Going there is a Christmas tradition I will never forget.”

 

Stephen Adair (Dixie Echoes): “One year my dad was in the hospital after a series of strokes during the Christmas season. He was still in the hospital on Christmas Day, so my mom and I packed up all of the gifts that were under the tree and took them to his hospital room. We had Christmas there complete with hot chocolate, the Macy’s Christmas Day Parade, and the best hospital food we could find. We were together, and that’s what made that Christmas so special.”

 

Christmas

Bob Sellers

Bob Sellers (Soloist): “When I was about 10 years old, my parents asked my sister and I to clean out our closets of any toys, clothing, etc. that we could live without (only good stuff), and we took it to this one room cinder block home where a family with about six or eight kids lived. My dad had cut them a load of firewood and we gave them that, plus all the stuff my sister and I had put together. I’ll never forget the look on those kids’ and their parent’s faces. They were about our same age, and although we were far from wealthy, they looked at us and my parents like we were angels or something. I guess to them we were, at least that year. I’m thankful for godly, loving parents who instilled the true meaning of Christmas in me.”

 

Nic Holland (Poet Voices): “Probably my last Christmas with my mom before she died, 2003. We knew she didn’t have long to live and enjoyed every second of just being together. I have no memory of one single present I got that year but my time with Mom I’ll never forget.”

 

The Oak Ridge Boys

The Oak Ridge Boys

Duane Allen (Oak Ridge Boys): “My wife gave birth to Jamie, our baby girl, on Dec. 13. Early on Christmas morning, Norah Lee slipped out of bed, dressed Jamie up real pretty, put her in her little portable bed and placed her under the Christmas tree. Then, Norah Lee came back to the bedroom, woke me up and led me to the living room to see my Christmas present.”

 

Scott Brand (Gold City): “I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. When I was a kid, my grandparents, along with my great grandmother, would come spend four or five days with us around Christmas. The Brand tradition was to cook a ham in Coca Cola all night on Christmas Eve. I can still to this day smell that cooking through the house. Just family getting together and keeping traditions alive would be my Christmas memories as a kid.”

 

Jordan Family Band

Randa Jordan (Jordan Family Band): “I was eight years old, and money was something we never had much of. I knew that Daddy and Mama didn’t have enough money to go out and buy me and my brother new toys, and yet somehow I was okay with that. I was a dreamer, and I enjoyed the most simple things that surrounded me. We lived in what seemed like to me the most wonderful apartment in downtown Rome. Two stories, hardwood floors, a screened in back porch, huge living room, and the front yard was next to the busy road where the town’s bus and trolley would pass throughout the day. I loved that apartment so much. The staircase was huge to me and I loved dressing up and and walking up and down them like a princess out of a fairy tail book. The morning of Christmas, 1989, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my brother and I woke up, and at the direction of Daddy and Mama, we waited on the big staircase till they instructed us to come into the living room. Bubbling with joy and wearing my little white gown and house shoes, I walked into a living room that was covered in gifts. Clothes, toys, games everywhere. The couches and chairs were covered, items set up all across the floor and gifts under the tree. It was like a dream. Dad and Mom had went “yard sale-ing” and “goodwill-ing” and loaded up without spending much at all. That was one of the best days of my life.”

 

Sarah Davison (HighRoad): “When I was a young girl we had a huge snowstorm come through – probably 13-14 inches of snow – and it was so heavy that we lost power for several days including Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I remember Dad firing up the wood stove and Mom making homemade soup on top of the wood stove. We played board games and got some old hymnals out and gathered around the piano. It was the most quiet, peaceful Christmas I can remember and by far my favorite one too.”

 

Christmas

Nathan and Amber Nelon Kistler

Amber Nelon Kistler (The Nelons): “My favorite Christmas memory is sitting around the table playing games with my whole family and grandparents at their house. Then eating the dinner my grandmama cooked …twice a year… Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Compiled by Justin Gilmore

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in December 2018

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