As we approach the holidays, Good News Wants to Know… What is the best Christmas surprise you’ve ever received?
In 2009 I realized we did not have enough toys to give out the needy families that would be coming to the Miami Rescue Mission for toys and dinner. The numbers were getting higher every year. We were two days away, and I knew there was not nearly enough. I raised my hands and said, “Lord I am really scared. What am I to do?” Within 15 minutes of that prayer, a phone call came in from a group I did not know and that had never donated to the Mission. They said the people we were giving our toys to said they have enough and do not want us to bring them. Someone told us about the Mission, and we want to know if you could use them. All was wrapped and had the gender and age marked on over 1,000 new toys. All I could say was YES we will take them and then said, “Jesus… that was a BIG SURPRISE! Thank you for your faithfulness.”
Marilyn Brummitt, Vice President, Miami Rescue Mission
The best Christmas surprise we ever received actually happened eight days before Christmas when on December 17, 1986, we brought our daughter Jenny home from Shepard Care Adoption Agency. We often say we had a nine week pregnancy having put our application in on October 1, and Jenny was born on November 28th. She had one tuft of red hair, which grew into beautiful red curls on a beautiful young lady who is now a wife, mom and wedding coordinator.
William “Bill” C. Davell, Director , Tripp Scott, PA
In 1985 the greatest gift known to man (and child) was a Nintendo. We got one. And plenty of games. In the years that followed, my little brother and I wasted two thirds of our childhood battling it out on games like TecmoBowl, Roger Clemens Baseball, Zelda, and, of course, Duck Hunt. The other third of our childhood was spent blowing as hard as we could into the cartridges in a hopeless attempt to rid the games of demons and dust.
Bob Denison, President, Denison Yachting
My greatest Christmas surprise came when I was in Junior High. My uncle came to our home and gave me his baby wooly monkey, since he realized he didn’t have the time to properly care for it. I didn’t want to go to school anymore so I could stay home to care and play with it. It wore diapers, slept with me and sat in a miniature high chair next to our dinner table to eat. Since I love animals, that was the best gift ever.
Deborah Cusick, FAU Campus Volunteer, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
The best Christmas was when I asked Sueanne to marry me and she said yes. After 33 years of adventure, much travel, constantly venturing into new territory and putting the Lord first in our lives, that was an awesome Christmas and when our journey together began.
Don Campion, President, Banyan Air Service, Inc.
Waking up and seeing a Big Wheel under the Christmas Tree. It was 1974. I’ll never forget that feeling!
Doug Sauder, Pastor, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale
My greatest Christmas surprise came on December 10th, 1978. My wife and I both gave our lives to Jesus on that day at a conference. It may not have been Christmas but, to us, it truly was.
Fidel Gomez, Pastor, Calvary Chapel Hollywood
Deborah and I spent many Christmases in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. In the DR we hung ornaments on a tree branch painted white and set firm in a tin can filled with concrete. In Costa Rica Christmas time was when stands filled with red apples, and green grapes for sale appeared on multiple street corners. On Calle Central in San José people sold bags of confetti; at night everyone threw the confetti up in the air under street lights. It looked like a white Christmas – snow at nine degrees north of the Equator! We were surprised by the luscious Christmas tamales neighbors and friends gave us, but they warned us with broad smiles not to eat “la lechuga dura” (the banana leaf wrapping). All these gifts were just the best!
Gene L. Green, PhD, Dean, Trinity International University – Florida
That’s an easy question for me. I proposed to my wife, Liz, on Christmas Eve, and she surprised me when she accepted knowing the hurdles that lie ahead when blending two families. It was just the beginning of many wonderful Christmas surprises to come!
Gregg Wallick, President, Best Roofing, Inc.
Christmas is always a very special time for me. I love the Season and the love we feel with family and friends!! My best Christmas was just last year. I was feeling a bit melancholy because we had no plans to see our family in Ohio. But God had other plans !!! My family surprised us and flew down for the holidays!!! #bestchristmasever
Helen Wayner P.A., Century 21 Hansen Realty
I was nine. I had been admiring a BEAUTIFUL 5-speed bicycle at Sears every time we would visit the store. Butterfly handlebars, dragster style front tire, slick back tire, banana seat in smooth black vinyl, and rudimentary but cool looking suspension. It had a blended paint job of maroon to dark blue. Way more money than I could ever expect my folks to spend. It was next to the tree Christmas Day. I was the coolest kid in our neighborhood. Thanks, Dad!
James ‘JT’ Taylor, Managing Director, Head of Automotive Retail, Truist Securities
It was the first Christmas that Amy and I were married. We lived in part of the world that provided the occasional snow on Christmas. Late Christmas Eve Amy said she heard something on the patio. When I went to take a look, she had a basket of glass bottle Yoo-Hoo’s strategically placed. They had a light dust of snow and red bow. I love Yoo-Hoo and it was the perfect moment and perfect gift. I was totally surprised and loved that she “knew me.”
James Welch, Pastor, First Baptist Fort Lauderdale
Although it was delayed, the best Christmas surprise that I have received was snow in South Florida. As a youngster, I asked for snow to fall on Christmas morning. To my surprise, it fell January 19, 1977 on my 12th birthday. Surprise!
Ken Kerrigan, Pastor, Calvary Cornerstone Church
One of the best Christmas surprises I ever received was my offer to join 4KIDS as President & CEO the week before Christmas in December 2016. I remember that year when my pastor, Doug Sauder, of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale was teaching a series in December 2016 about the “Unexpected Gift” of Jesus. He said that when God gives a gift, it is always perfect, and He exceeds our expectations! I will never forget my Christmas of 2016 when I said YES to join the 4KIDS staff. God’s timing is always perfect, and being at 4KIDS has been a season filled with Ephesians 3:20 moments. Thank you Jesus!
Kevin Enders, president, 4KIDS
Receiving an engagement ring on a cold Christmas Eve at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland!
Laura C. Bishop, Executive Vice President of Advancement, Palm Beach Atlantic University
Although I cannot remember the BEST Christmas surprise I have ever received, my wonderful husband ALWAYS manages to surprise me at Christmas, and his surprises are always what I need.
Dr. Mary Drabik, President, South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary
The best Christmas surprise we ever received was when we had ChristMax! Let me explain. My wife and I were living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. On Christmas Eve we went walking down Canyon Road, drinking hot chocolate and singing Christmas carols. The snow, the fires burning, it was beautiful! The moment we got home and climbed into bed, her water broke and we were off to the hospital. That Christmas morning was majestic and oh so white, but what made it really special was the birth of our first baby boy!
Dr. Mike Rozenblum, Genesis Physical Medicine and Chiropractic
Many years ago we moved from South Florida to Northern Virginia. Originally from the north, we were both excited to come back and experience a colder Christmas after several warm ones in Florida. We went out and bought a tree as soon as the lots opened. We enjoyed that tree for a couple of weeks but, by Christmas Eve, it was completely dried out and shedding needles everywhere. We took it down and ended up taping lights to the sliding door of our apartment in the shape of a tree, and were still able to have a nice Christmas. It might not be the best memory, but it was a Christmas surprise!
Mike McDermott, PA, Seniors Real Estate Specialist, The Keyes Company
It was during the Vietnam War when my oldest brother, stationed at Fort Bragg, showed up at our door just as we sat down for Christmas Eve lunch. My Mom, Dad, younger brother and I just stood there for a moment, staring at this handsome soldier standing in the door in his military best. We all started hugging him, crying, laughing – all at the same time. He then had us pile into the car and took us all to the mall where he bought everyone Christmas presents. Truly, the best Christmas surprise I’ve ever received.
Oksana Horton, Artistic Director, Torch and Trumpet Theatre Co.
The best Christmas surprise that I ever received was when my parents bought me a beautiful blue car when I was five years old. I loved my little blue toy car, which I pedaled all around the farm when my parents were sharecroppers in South Carolina. This was one of the best Christmas of my life.
O’Neal Dozier, Pastor, The Worldwide Christian Center
My first grandchild, who I always talked to before he was born, was born on Christmas Eve. When I called his name about 30 minutes after he was born and was shown to us, he turned his head toward me and opened his eyes. What a blessing to get a grandchild for Christmas! He is still, at 10, bringing joy to my heart! God has truly blessed me with three grandchildren now!
Patricia Colangelo, EdS, Lecturer, Professor, Trinity International University – Florida
Christmas 1959: My Grandfather joined us on Christmas Eve and was totally lucid. He had been suffering with what later became known as Alzheimer’s, and he passed away on January 9, 1960. That Christmas Eve he was the man I knew from my birth who always lifted my spirits and he lifted them higher than ever that night. I was twelve years old when I received this special gift of love at Christmas.
Ray Monteleone, President and CEO, Paladin Global Partners
The best Christmas surprise I ever received was in 1969 when my brother Tom, who was serving in Vietnam, was able to come home that year and surprised our family on Christmas morning. Thanking God for Tom and all of our Veterans at this special time of year!!
Coach Rick Andreassen, President and Founder, SAINTS of Florida Homeschool P.E. and SAINTS International Sports Ministry
I received Christ as my Savior at 20 years old. My family of eight had not seen me for over four years or since I gave my life to Jesus. For Christmas, my mom sent me a ticket to fly home for the holidays. The reunion was great, and since then, all my family members have made a profession of faith, in part, for seeing Jesus in my life. Turned out to be the greatest present ever.
Ron Bramos, Senior Pastor, Victory Life Church
Though he was a couple of days late, my son Josiah (December 27) was the greatest gift ever! We named him Josiah because in Hebrew it means “whom Jehovah heals.” We did not have money or insurance at the time, so we depended on that name.
Samuel Lamerson, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies, Knox Theological Seminary
The best Christmas surprise I’ve ever received was our Goldendoodle, Cooper. We picked him up the Saturday before Christmas in 2012 a year after my wife, Kim, and I were married. God blessed us with a house that year, and I was a little unsure at first about getting a dog so soon, but he became my best friend that follows me around almost everywhere I go. Loving and caring for our dog helped prepare the way for the four kids that God would later bless us with, and now every Christmas is special with our complete family.
Steve Daigle Campus Pastor, Calvary Chapel Parkland
In 1991, I had come to the Lord the Saturday after Thanksgiving…And in God’s perfect timing, I received an early Christmas Surprise when my son Eric was born 12 weeks early on December 14th. He weighed 2lbs, 4 Oz and was only 14 inches long. Celebrating and praying over him at Miami Children’s Hospital on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was the greatest Christmas Blessing and SURPRISE I’ve ever received.
Steve Solomon, CBMC, Area Director, CBMC South Florida
Read last month’s Good News Wants to Know at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/good-news-wants-to-know-thanksgiving-thank-you/