Pastor McMachen Shares His Christmas Memory

Kevin McMachen is the senior pastor of Highlands United Methodist Church in Highlands, Texas. Kevin shares his most memorable Christmas memory with True Christian Magazine.

Kevin’s Christmas memory:

“The Christmas memory that affected me the most in my life did not begin at Christmas. It began in January of 1988 when I was twelve years old. It was a Saturday evening while I was laying on the floor of the living room near the bottom of the stairs watching television. My little brother thought it would be cool to jump from the stairs on to my back to tackle me. When he did, he inflamed a genetic spinal condition in my lower back that we were unaware of. My brother’s act would place me in a body cast for the next three months. This is where my memory begins. After being released from the body cast, I was able to go home to allow my joints to continue to heal so I could get moving again.

Shortly after I got home, I began having severe pain in my sides under my ribs. I went to the restroom and after having the most painful experience in my life found blood in the toilet. I was rushed to the hospital. After many tests, the doctors discovered that I had more than 200 kidney stones distributed between both of my kidneys and in my bladder. For the next two years, I would be in and out of the hospital dealing with another health issue.

As the year came closer to Christmas, I found myself once again in the hospital, but not the one in Las Vegas where I lived. The doctor had sent me to a hospital in San Diego, California where a specialist in pediatric urology could treat me. As Christmas grew closer and closer, it became very clear that I was going to be in the hospital to celebrate Christmas with just me and my mother. My father and siblings were back home in Las Vegas.

The morning of Christmas Eve, as I lay devastated in my bed, a kind old man walked into my room and asked if he could visit with me for a while. My mother and I said, “sure” and he came in. I remember visiting with him for a short time, but don’t recall what was said. I do remember that he left me with a Christmas gift. It was a SnapTight model of Chevrolet Nova. I cherished it.

What possessed this man to take the time to visit some kid he didn’t know just to bring him this wonderful gift? Shortly after that moment, a nurse came into the room and told my mother and me that the doctor was releasing me to go home for Christmas.

More than 30 years later, I have not forgotten the smile on that man’s face and have not forgotten the wonderful joy he brought into my life when there was not much to be joyful about. I will likely not meet him again, but for that moment, he was the face of Christ for me. What I have learned from his generosity is that no matter the circumstances, no matter the struggle, no matter what this world brings, simply loving each other for the sake of loving each other can bring joy that is far greater than any pain that we would endure.”