I grew up in small Baptist country churches. I remember them being filled to overflowing as the people gathered to hear a word from the Lord from the God-called preachers. My Daddy preached at this small church where over 150 attended..Sunday School and church..how we fit into that small, but adequate building, I don't know. Over 40 years later, the same church has the same number attending but the buildings are 10 times as big...hmmm..are we placing more emphasis on the buildings than on the people? Anyway, I wrote this in my Daddy's memory...Thank you, Jesus, for giving me a spirit filled oldtime preacher man for my daddy.
This story was written December 21, 1994 and appears in my book
Luke 2.10 "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
When we think of Christmas, we picture presents under the tree, the Christmas play at the church, Christmas lights and the hustle and bustle of that time of the year.
As I look back over the 42 years the good Lord has allowed me to live, Christmas of 1966 stands forever etched in my mind. I was 14 years old, an only son with four sisters.
I really had a close relationship with my daddy, the late Rev. A.J. Rozier, The week before Christmas, daddy and the late Rev. Jody Thigpen performed the wedding ceremony for my oldest sister, Shirley, and her husband, Joe.
The simple ceremony at our old home place brought a sense of joy in the air. We eagerly anticipated the excitement of Christmas day.
On December 22, 1966, I was helping daddy deliver furniture (back then, country preachers didn't receive a large enough salary to support their families and had to work other jobs) for Gibson McDonald furniture company. My first cousin, the late Clyde Douberly, and I went with daddy to Hazelhurst to deliver a refrigerator.
Afterwards, I remember daddy sitting down and saying, "Boys, I've got to rest a minute." He felt better and we drove the 50 miles back to Blackshear and mama's good supper.
Our Christmas tree was up and the presents were wrapped. Only two days and a night until Christmas! That night, my 40 year old preacher daddy dropped dead of a heart attack.
I remember all the people coming, the Christmas tree and presents being removed, and my daddy's casket taking that spot.
On that cold, cloudy, Christmas day, we buried my daddy. Suddenly, presents and trees didn't mean that much. The Lord answered daddy's Christmas prayer-he longed to be with Jesus.
From that Christmas on, I truly realized what the true meaning of Christmas is. Yes, it's a time of celebration...For unto us this day is born a Savior...Without His birth, we would have no hope of being reunited with our loved ones.
I will see my Daddy again. You see, almost eight years ago, another one of daddy's prayers was answered. I, too, am a child of the King.
This Christmas of 1994, let us rejoice in the birth and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because He lives, we can live, also.
Luke 2.11 "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Footnote...Both my brother-in-law, Joe, and I are preachers. Clyde was 26 when the Lord called him home. Clyde and my Daddy were both born on August the 18..both died on December 22, and both were buried on Christmas day (10 years apart)
Wow... Just kinda strange here, but... my brother was born on my cousin's 13th birthday, (1/9/68) and my stepdad died of a heart attack on my brother's 13th birthday (1/9/81) when he was only 40. 13 years later, nothing significant happened, but my brother did keep himself locked up in the house all day... just in case. I rejoice for you and your family members' salvation and your upbringing. That's wonderful!