Archive for December, 2013

Christmas Memories and Traditions | Ronnie Parrott

Ronnie-Parrott_thumb.jpgThis week on, Pastor and several Cross Church staff members are sharing their Christmas memories and traditions. Today, we hear from Ronnie Parrott, Pastor of Discipleship at the Fayetteville campus. You can read more from Pastor and other Cross Church staff members about their Christmas traditions at now thru December 24.

Ronnie Parrot, kid, Christmas blogChristmas was a special time in my home growing up. I grew up in Knoxville, TN in a little, two bedroom, 800 sq ft home. My mom’s motto was, “Love grows best in small homes.” My parents are big time givers. They love to bless people, especially their children. Each year they would emphasize three things during Christmas: 1) Celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth, 2) Cherishing Family, & 3) Giving to others.

It seems like each year my mom had a new idea for how to give to others. I remember one year, my mom had the idea to go buy 20 pairs of men’s socks and 20 hairbrushes to wrap up. We did as she wanted and as a family, we delivered them to a local nursing home. My brother and I went room to room with mom and dad and delivered the hairbrushes to the ladies and the socks to the men. It was a great teachable moment for my brother and me.

RonnieP1Now, as parents of soon to be five kids, Marci and I want to be very intentional about teaching our children the importance of those same three things. We have developed our own family traditions over the years. Each year, we go through an Advent calendar with our children, counting down the days until we celebrate our King’s birth. Also, with each new gift our children get, they have to pick one of their old toys to give away. We participate in an angel tree or blessing someone in need. These are just a few of the ideas we have come up with to intentionally teach our children.

Ronnie Parrott Family, Christmas pngAbove all, we want to teach and model for our kids what it means to be grateful for all that we have on earth, but more importantly eternally, in Christ Jesus. We want our children to understand what it means that Jesus was sent to earth to save God’s people from sin. Each year we pray and ask God to work in our children’s hearts to show them their need for a savior, and each year we want to model the gospel through all that we do. Without Jesus we have no hope. It’s with a grateful heart that we walk in this Christmas season and we want our children to do the same.

Thanks for loving our family, Cross Church!

Ronnie Parrott
Pastor of Discipleship, Fayetteville Campus

Christmas Memories and Traditions | Dr. Jeff Crawford

Jeff-Crawford_thumb.jpgThis week on, Pastor and several Cross Church staff members are sharing their Christmas memories and traditions. Today, we hear from Dr. Jeff Crawford, President of Cross Church School of Ministry and Cross Church Teaching Pastor. You can read more from Pastor and other Cross Church staff members about their Christmas traditions at now thru December 24.

I credit my parents for my love for Christmas. The Christmas season was always a BIG deal to Mom and she was the master of the home when it came to putting up the decorations, baking goodies, playing Christmas music, etc. But the Christmas tree was Dad’s domain. With Dad being an over-the-road truck driver, I grew up in a modest home in Fort Smith with my two older brothers and younger sister. Sometime after Thanksgiving, when Dad was home from one of his trips in his truck, we would load up the whole family and head out to get the tree – always a live tree! Sometimes it would come from a tree lot but other times we would go to old family land in Kibler and cut it down ourselves and bring it home tied to the top of the car, a la Christmas Vacation! Crawford-Family-December-Blog2.jpgDad would also lead the annual ritual of hauling the ladder out of the garage to string lights on the house and through the assorted bushes in the front. But Mom was the one who steered the Christmas traditions. She shopped for the gifts, wrapped and placed them under the tree, and made sure we all knew when A Charlie Brown Christmas was airing on TV – before the advent of the DVR when you had one, and only one, shot at a TV show. Both Mom and Dad are believers, so Jesus was always THE center of Christmas in our home.

Crawford-Family-December-Blog.jpgI think that most of us never realize the impact our parents have on us and how much of them is in us until we grow up and have families of our own. When Julie and I were first married, I never thought of anything but a LIVE Christmas tree, with all the mess that comes with them. And multi-colored, big-bulb lights are the only lights allowed on the roofline of my home – just like Dad used to hang. We play lots of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and even some Elvis Presley in our house when it comes to Christmas music selections. Julie has taken the lead on so many other Christmas traditions for our family, some of them brand new – like every Christmas Eve the kids all get a new set of pajamas to wear to bed. Our house is always full of the smells of baked treats from Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas, and we always DVR A Charlie Brown Christmas so we can watch it when we want to watch it – some years more than once.

But Jesus is always the focus. A tradition our family celebrates is Advent. With a family wreath and candles, we gather around once a week from Thanksgiving through Christmas morning to read Scripture, share thoughts, pray, and sing carols. It is, I think, my favorite Christmas tradition of all.

Dr. Jeff Crawford
President, Cross Church School of Ministry and Teaching Pastor, Cross Church