God’s Grace Is Sufficient

Life does not always give us the chance to learn “the rest of the story.” People come and go through our daily encounters, friendships fade, people move on, we move on. Sometimes I catch myself wondering, whatever happened to some of them. Right now I am reflecting on a life that briefly intersected with mine. I learned this weekend of the passing of one of my family’s pastors at age 97. He was by all measures, a man of grace. He was the minister of the Philadelphia Baptist Church while I was in college in Birmingham, Alabama. He is most famously remembered because of his name, Charles Merry Christmas, Sr. His kind ways encouraged me as a young minister while in college. I attended as often as I could. I preached once as part of a Youth Sunday service. While my parents and sisters attended regularly, across my college years I served on the staff of two churches, supply preached in rural churches, and frequently traveled with a full-time evangelist leading the music in revivals. One of my last occasions at the Philadelphia Baptist Church was the honor of officiating at my sister Denise’s wedding. 

When we first met the Christmas family, their daughter, Joy Carol Christmas, and son, Charles Merry Christmas, Jr., were in high school.  Charles Christmas, Sr. and his wife Louise were married 65 years when she passed away. 

Dr. Christmas was called to preach during World War II at age 18. He graduated from Howard College (now Samford University) and earned his doctorate at New Orleans Theological Seminary. He was widely respected as a Bible teacher who practiced what he preached.  I learned that he pastored several churches through the years and “retired” in 1997 after seven years as a Baptist Associational Director. He served as an interim pastor and guest preacher through his mid-nineties. He wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper called Simple Truth.  Always eager to share a good word with others, he had the idea of giving away baseball caps as a witness. He had caps printed with sayings such as Jesus Christ is Lord, and my favorite, God’s Grace is Sufficient. 

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Live gracefully. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

Share this webpage: Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedin