My First Christmas in Jacksonville

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  • My first Christmas in Jacksonville was very close to what would have taken place if I was still in Los Angeles. Most likely.

    I was up quite late on Christmas Eve, editing my sermon. I only got a couple of hours sleep. And I was back up, continuing my preparations for my Christmas morning message.

    H.B. woke up before everyone else. Typical. Once we woke up the women, we prayed, opened a couple of gifts, and then prepared for worship.

    Our Christmas morning service at Shiloh Church was great. I was surprised by the attendance. And I was really looking forward to preaching. My message was on John 3:16 – “How God Says I Love You.” God smile on our worship service.

    After worship, we needed breakfast. Let the church says, “Waffle House!”

    Upon returning home and watched the kids open the rest of the gifts. Several members were kind enough to give gifts to H.B., Natalie, and Hailey. As Natalie opened one such gift, she whispered, “Our church really loves us.” Crystal and I looked at each other. I said, “I think you’re right.” Crystal said, “I am glad you noticed.”

    Time seemed to fly by. The afternoon arrived before we knew it. Crystal and the kids prepared to go to the home of new friends who invited us over for Christmas dinner. They were almost ready to go before they noticed that I hadn’t budged. So they left me.

    The “spirit of sleep” overtook me.”

    I was really hungry when I woke up. But Crystal and the kids were still out. I waited as long as I could before I had to go out to get me something. Let the church says, “Hamburgers.”

    We all got home about the same time. One of H.B.’s new friends was with them to spend the night with us. So Crystal went back out and made sure we were stocked-up on junk food. We threw in a movie. And twenty minutes into it, the “spirit of sleep” overtook me again.

    New city. Same Charles family Christmas traditions. Crystal says this previous sentence should read, “Same H.B. Jr. Christmas traditions.”

    Bah humbug!


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.