Staff Christmas Memories

Again this year, I’ve asked our staff to submit a meaningful Christmas memory, a movie or song. Here’s what I heard back from them. Enjoy!


Mike Gonzales, Hispanic Ministries

Our must-see movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” We also love to attend the Christmas Eve candle light service at our church. Having Christ in our lives is a “Wonderful Life”!  

Garrett Wagoner, Evangelism

One of my favorite memories is watching the Claymation Rudolf and playing with the homemade ornaments on our Christmas tree. In a weird way, I loved the way the ornaments and the fake tree smelled. 

Emily Smith, Church Ministries

Well let’s just say I can now recite all of Santa’s reindeer since this has become one of my 3-year-old’s favorite Christmas songs and we have to listen to it all year long. 

Deborah Smith, Pastor/Church Relations

At night, for my nieces and nephews, I turn off all of the lights and tell the story of Jesus in the dark only using a flashlight to “light” the way through a gospel presentation. The toy figures we use to play each role change each year, such as Megatron as Herod, and usually ends in laughter because it is a surprise. Then, we finish with a discussion about God and salvation. 

Sheryl McFadden, Evangelism

On Christmas night each year we went with our children and a group of friends caroling to the widows and elderly couples who didn’t have family visit over the holiday.

Laura Adkinson, Pastor/Church Relations

When my kids were very young, I bought a Christmas count down calendar. It’s a Santa face with 24 little burlap sacks below it to stuff a few pieces of candy in. I hung it up every year and filled it with candy for my son and daughter. It was so fun to see them check it every day for the pieces of chocolate tucked away in the little sacks.  

Shane Pruitt, Evangelism

Our family’s favorite song is Gene Autry’s version of “Up on the House Top.” Our two oldest daughters and I will scream the lyrics, “Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go? Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go?” at the top of our voices, much to Kasi’s dismay. The next request is “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”  

Barry Calhoun, Missions Mobilization

A favorite of mine is the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmie Stewart. It reminds me of the importance of simple things in life, helping our neighbor and the extreme impact our lives have on others in our sphere of influence. We are our brother’s keeper! Gen. 4:9

Bruno Molina, Evangelism

Our Christmas is a bicultural event. Due to our Dominican heritage, our big celebration happens on Christmas Eve. We gather our extended family and enjoy merengue dancing and the Jerry Vale Christmas album. After a great meal and a time of prayer, we exchange presents and go off to a sound sleep.  

Tammi Ledbetter, Communications

My kids and I baked a sugar cookie nativity scene each year. We were lucky if a shepherd, the largest cookie, survived to go in the barn. Over the years we spread the baking party to neighbor kids and church families. I look forward to sharing this with my grandkids. 

Mark Yoakum, Church Ministries

“Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters: It turns my thoughts to all our service men and women who are on the field in other countries and cannot be with their loved ones. I pray that God will give them extra grace to deal with this season.

David Alexander, Missions

I grew up always looking forward to “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Frosty the Snowman” and Fred Astaire narrating the Santa Claus story. We would decorate our Christmas tree with homemade sugar cookies and spend the days up to Christmas eating them off the tree.

Dennis Parish, Field Ministry Strategist 

“I’ve seen all those Christmas shows on TV

Blankets of white powder; my, how grand!

But while you’ve got snow and holly, I’m feastin’ on tamales

Sittin’ on my back porch with an iced tea in my hand!”

Gayla Sullivan, Communications

We always read the Christmas story from Luke before opening any presents; a tradition that continues. And then we watch “Elf.”

Anna Whitson, Missions

 “Silent Night” was always the final song played at our annual Christmas Eve service. My childhood church was multi-cultural, so it was so sweet to hear voices from around the globe worshiping Christ. The soft strum of guitars would gently lift up our words of adoration, capturing the holiness of that night so long ago.

Lauren Heinfeld, Evangelism

Every year growing up we would listen to Bing Crosby’s CD, “White Christmas,” my mom’s favorite Christmas music. My mom passed away almost six years ago, and to this day, and when I see it and hear it, it’s a reminder of her and what love looked like for our family. 

Mitch Kolenovsky, Field Ministry Strategist

My favorite Christmas Sing is “It’s About the Cross” by the group Go Fish.

The song is a reminder that there never would have been a cradle without the cross.

Ted Elmore, Pastor/Church Relations

In our kids growing up years we had a minister of music at our church, who, every year, would sing “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” in his deep, baritone voice. Each year as we gather, one or two of our four will break out into a deep imitation of the song. We all laugh, and then some good reminiscing begins.

Chris Enright, Operations

When our kids were growing up, we used the watch a video that was narrated by Andy Griffith called “The Very First Noel.” As kids tend to do with movies they like, we watched it over and over every season. Andy Griffith’s voice thankfully made it tolerable and the clear gospel message for our children made it valuable. 

Tony Wolfe, Pastor/Church Relations

Around Christmas for the past several years, Vanessa commandeers the TV remote to give the Hallmark Channel a monopoly on our television screen. The boys and I roll our eyes and grunt. Every evening, you can cut the sarcasm with a knife. Aaron likes to divulge the entire plot of the movie within the first two minutes. Even for the ones we have never seen; he nails it every time.   

Gary Ledbetter
Southern Baptist Texan
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