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Oklahomans share their families' Christmas Eve traditions

Reading together, sharing dinners and giving back are ways these Oklahoma families celebrate Christmas Eve.
by Carla Hinton Published: December 24, 2012
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Knox said she quickly learned how serious the situation had become when a large team of doctors and nurses entered her son's hospital room and began treating him for the deadly infection. Knox said the couple had planned to take their four children to Christmas Eve worship services at their church, the south Tulsa campus of LifeChurch.tv. Instead, the worried parents spent the evening at the hospital where they were eventually told that their son had about 12 days to live and if he did not die, he would have extensive brain damage.

Knox said a doctor came into little Judah's room Christmas Day and shared more medical information with them. Knox said the woman then prayed for the boy and they joined her in asking God to heal him.

“She said ‘I know we serve a God that's bigger than this (illness),'” Knox said, recalling the doctor's words.

Knox said their prayers and those of countless family, friends and church members for Judah were answered with what the family calls a miracle.

“Within two hours (of praying), he was crawling around. They had to kick us out of ICU because he wasn't sick anymore.”

Knox said strangers who previously had experienced similar situations had dropped off encouraging cards and snacks for them and other parents whose children were hospitalized. She said that's why the family will start a new tradition of giving back to people experiencing such trauma at The Children's Hospital. Knox said her husband, who is a pastor at their church, plans to write the families a letter of encouragement as they face challenges.

“We didn't ever want to forget it — what they did for us,” she said. “If we can bring goodness to them during that scary time, we want to do it.”

Savior's supper

Maria Edgington, of Edmond, said when she was a child, her mother hosted a Christmas Eve dinner that she called a “Nazarene supper.”

Now Edgington has such a gathering at her family home each year.

Edgington said she and her husband, Chuck, their four children and close family friends dress in clothes typical of biblical times and sit down to a meal made to resemble one that people in Jesus' time might have eaten.

Edgington said they eat fish (chicken for family members who dislike fish), nuts, dried fruits, hummus, breadsticks and matzo bread.

She said she tries to come as close as possible to a traditional biblical times supper.

The group eats by candlelight and Edgington said they eat from wooden bowls she has collected over the years.

She said one year, her family traveled to visit out-of-town relatives and her children said they deeply missed their traditional Christmas Eve supper.

“It's fun and the kids realize this is how the Savior would have lived,” Edgington said.

Edgington, a Mormon, said she has enjoyed sharing this tradition with her children and she hopes they share it with their own someday.

“I appreciate my parents instilling such traditions in us,” she said.

“I can't tell you what all my presents were, but most of my best memories of Christmas were from Christmas Eve dinner.”

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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