Merry Christmas!

December 24th, 2020 | Latest News
Merry Christmas!

What was your Best Gift of 2020?

For us, it was definitely the arrival of our 7th Grandchild – Hank Williams (photo above) on September 9, 2020!

You recently received my December LeadingWithQuestions Newsletter with five suggested questions for your Christmas family gatherings, whether in person or via Zoom.

One of my Subscribers wrote asking what my answers are to the five questions I shared.  So today, instead of “Leading With Questions” I will “Follow With Answers!”

1. As a child, what was your most favorite Christmas gift that you received?

A Lionel Train set when I was either 4 or 5 years old.  I remember my Dad, being a farmer with lots of time to be in the house in the winter, spent many hours running that train with me.

2. What was your most memorable Christmas ever? What made it so memorable?

My most memorable Christmas as a child was actually memorable for a sad reason.  I am guessing I was 7 or 8 and my Dad was in the hospital with kidney stones for Christmas.  I remember my Mom being quite sad as she drove my sister and me, without my Dad, to my Grandparents (her family) on Christmas day for Christmas Dinner!  I also remember the present I received from one of my cousins (we had exchanged names) – it was a suction cup dart gun with a cowboy on a bucking bronco – if I hit the target just right with the dart gun the cowboy was bucked off the bronco!

3.  As a child, what were your family’s Christmas traditions?

Growing up I was always in the annual Children’s Christmas Program at our Church.  Almost every child had a small speaking part.  They called it your “Christmas Piece.”  It was usually one or two short sentences.  I remember my Dad practicing over and over with me and always saying “Robert you will need to speak loudly (but don’t yell) and clearly so that everyone will be able to hear and understand what you are saying.”  After the program my Dad’s whole family – all my uncles and aunts and cousins went to my Tiede grandparents home located one block from our church for presents and a wonderful Christmas meal.

And as we then drove home – my sister and I would always wonder if Santa had already been to our house?  And when we ran into our living room and looked under the tree there were always Christmas presents there from Santa that had not been there when we left for the Christmas Program.  (It wasn’t until we were much older that we understood what really happened, when we were all in our car ready to leave and Dad or Mom suddenly remembered that one more food item that they had left in the house that they needed to get)

More presents on Christmas morning and then we would drive to my other Grandparents to celebrate Christmas with all my Mom’s brothers and sisters and their families.

4.  What foods do you associate with Christmas?

For me there is only one food item that I will always associate with Christmas and that is homemade ice cream.  This Christmas eve will be my 71st time to have homemade ice cream.  Of course growing up – it had to be hand cranked with ice (often snow) and salt.  Today we have the electric ice cream maker with the freezer bowl you put in the freezer for a couple of days!  Not as much work – but the homemade ice cream is still the BEST!

5.  What part did the birth of Jesus play in your family’s celebration?

While my parents certainly included Santa Clause in our childhood Christmas traditions, the real focus was always on the Birth of Jesus!  The Children’s Christmas Program at our church was always the retelling of the Birth of Christ – there being no room in the inn and Mary having to give birth to Jesus in a stable.   The appearance of the Angels to the Shepherds announcing the Good News that a Savior had been born and telling them that they would find the baby in a manger in a stable.  And as soon as the Angels left the Shepherds running to Bethlehem where they found the baby Jesus.  The appearance of the Star to the Wiseman who traveled a great distance to come and see the Christ Child and to bring him gifts.

As a child I certainly did not understand all of the significance of:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:1-5 

But I knew that the Birth of Christ was something very special!

It wasn’t until my freshman year at the University of South Dakota that I came to understand the story of Christmas at a much deeper level – but that is a story for another day!

Bob Tiede


Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 52 years. He currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness. Bob and his wife, Sherry, live in Plano, TX and are blessed with 4 incredible children and 8 remarkable grandchildren.


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