Tis the season for mailboxes filled with Christmas cards, many adorned with family photos. Pictures of new babies and newlyweds bring smiles to our faces. We marvel at how much our friends’ kids have grown since last year.
Family photos are little gifts, but they are also visual reminders of the passage of time. So today we present a trip through Rainey Family time, courtesy of 45 years of Christmas photos! Hope you will enjoy the ride!
We took our first Christmas photo as newlyweds of only 3 months. We lived in Boulder, Colorado, in a basement apartment and did everything together because Boulder wasn’t home for either of us. With no family or friends nearby, Dennis and I became best friends figuring out married life on our own.
Eight years later, we had moved four times and had four kids! This photo was taken in our post WWII cottage house in Little Rock. The exterior was painted a sunny yellow with a wide front porch and a porch swing. Baby Rebecca was about six weeks old in this photo.
Now we had our six; our quiver was full. For about eight years Dennis and I and our kids spent our Thanksgivings in Colorado leading singles conferences. They were very successful events attended by hundreds of singles who came to listen to great Bible teachers and learn about healthy dating relationships. Taken one late November afternoon in 1986, this photo is one of my favorites from our years at the singles conference. One of us had the brilliant idea to take that year’s photo on the lake where we went ice skating. We bundled our kids in coats and gloves, marched everyone carefully across the ice, got the two little toboggans in place, quickly took off all our coats and said cheese! Ashley, our oldest, was 12 and Laura was almost 2.
I still remember how cold that five-minute photo shoot was! I was into matching outfits, can’t you tell, and my kids and husband willingly cooperated! In spite of the frigid temps the photo worked and I loved the result.
Now we are well into teens and college-age kids; our first holidays with a grandchild. Everyone was home for Thanksgiving that year, including Ashley, her husband Michael, and baby Samuel. Our two sons were both in college. Our sugar maple tree still had golden leaves on its lower half so we happily stood in its lingering yellow glow for our family photo. I remember this photo well because the boys were poking each other or doing something to make everyone laugh. This time we didn’t have to bribe the kids with pizza or some other treat to get them to pay attention and smile!
Ten years have passed since the photo under the maple tree. It’s 2009, and our clan of six has grown to 24; five of the six were married with 13 kids and twins on the way. When the singles conferences ended, we began spending Thanksgiving with my extended family on the farm where my mother was born and raised. She and my dad moved back after he retired, and spending this holiday there became an annual tradition for my brothers, me, and our families. The kids love playing on the hay bales in the barn, so it made an easy location for our crew to line up and smile for the camera.
Today on December 1, 2017, I’m delighted to send our Christmas greetings to each of you from our family. Taken last April at our first Easter celebration day, five of our six kids and their families made the journey to Little Rock (none live in town) to join us in remembering, worshiping, and rejoicing over Jesus’ work for us on the cross. Without Easter Christmas would be meaningless.
So as we all celebrate the incarnation of Christ, the baby in the manger, let’s also remember to celebrate the life-changing gift His redemption work on the cross offers each of us.
Jesus was born,
He rose from the dead.
Christ is Risen
Just as He said!
“Glory to God in the highest
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
Dennis and Barbara and our family