The Christmas My PawPaw Knew Christ: A Christmas Devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by Lyndsie Suttle. We are nearing the end of our Diva Christmas Series for 2018! Here is Day 8. I hope you are as inspired by Lyndsie’s “Best Christmas Ever” as I was!!

Want to catch up on the series? Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7

A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

The Christmas My PawPaw Knew Christ

Christmas was always a special time in my family growing up. My granny had six grandkids, and she was crazy about all of us. She had four sons, so she was thrilled when her first four grandchildren were girls. She spoiled us all rotten.

Papaw was a bit of a different story. I wouldn’t call him a miser, but he has always been thrifty, and he thought my granny was too generous with her money. He worked hard his whole life, and saved every spare cent he had. Papaw was a wonderful man, and when it came to his grandchildren, he’d do just about anything for us. I never thought he didn’t love me, but we all knew that when it came to gifts, Gran was the giver.

Christmas was Gran’s time. We gave our wish lists to her. She shopped and bought the presents. She did all the wrapping. She made all the food. Papaw sat back and watched it all—and sometimes groused about how much it cost.

You see, my papaw didn’t know Jesus.

My granny came to know Christ just a short time after she was married. She always took her four boys to church, and prayed that one day her husband would join them. But it wasn’t until many years later, when I was eleven years old, that he accepted Jesus as his Savior.

I’ll never forget that first Christmas after he was saved. He was determined to make it about more than just eating a lot of great food and opening gifts.

He wanted us to have a wonderful time to remember. He set up games like a game show. My sweet white-haired granny wore a pink feather boa around her neck—she was his Vanna.

We had a talent show and answered silly quiz questions to win prizes. They were all hilariously tacky. I remember that I won a prize called “The Big Cheese.” It was an old picture of Papaw from the 80s. I think there was a five dollar bill included so that it didn’t feel like a bum prize! Some of us sang songs, or quoted Scripture verses or poems.

He wrote little poems about each of us. He didn’t tell us who it was about, but everyone had to guess who he was describing. I can’t remember all the words, but I remember that mine mentioned that I was the tallest out of all my cousins. When your poem was read, you were allowed to choose a present to open, or choose a present for someone else to open. That way, we all saw one another open gifts. It was a major change from previous years when everyone wildly opened gifts all at once.

That Christmas happened twenty years ago. I’ve had a lot a great Christmases since then. But it still sticks out in my mind as one of the best ever. There was so much laughter and fun. I can close my eyes right now and remember how it felt to be gathered there with my aunt, uncles, cousins and siblings. I can still see Gran flipping her feather boa over her shoulder as she asked us if we wanted to keep our prize or trade for something better. (Yes, we mixed our game shows up a bit.)

My papaw changed that Christmas. He didn’t just sit and watch us. He joined in and played and laughed, and brought us together as a family. When he came to know Jesus, his whole life changed, and our Christmas changed, too.

It’s amazing to me that two thousand years after His birth, Jesus is still changing lives, and making people happier and free. I hope that we can all find that true joy of Christmas, this year and every year, as we remember that knowing Jesus makes the best Christmas.

Lyndsie is a Christian, wife and stay-at-home mom to two boys. If she has spare time, you can find her reading a good book, baking cookies or sewing a quilt. She lives in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where she writes about motherhood, Jesus, and life in a camper. You can find her at