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Steve and Elizabeth Ayers




Spending time with family at Christmas for the Ayers is the most important thing, but can get complicated. Elizabeth would often work Christmas Eve or Christmas Day as a nurse, and with Steve in ministry, the family would spend Christmas Eve at the church or Christmas Day ministering to families who experienced tragedy. Both of their children, Blake and Claci, have married nurses, and Claci is a doctor, so they also continue to be flexible with their family celebrations.

Over the years the Ayers have welcomed others to their home, who would otherwise be spending Christmas alone. Having shared their lives with a large group of people throughout the year, but especially at Christmastime, they emphasize their thankfulness for each other. As their immediate family has grown they have been mindful of times when their inlaws celebrate with their families. Both Steve and Elizabeth come from large families, Steve being one of four children with his parents still living, and Elizabeth one of five with her mother still alive, and  hey make time to celebrate with them during the Christmas season.

The Ayers family celebrates with dinner including differing themes and sometimes non-traditional food items. The children are given an ornament from something which represents an activity shared during the year, and Santa leaves everyone pajamas for the day. They watch funny family videos of the children, recall great memories, and look back on their baptisms. Each year they play a family game which gets competitive and hilarious with all the personalities. This year’s game is by Jeff Foxworthy called Relative insanity! Santa still visits their home and the children, to this day, along with their grandson Tucker and granddogs, like running down the stairs to see what Santa put under the tree and in the stockings. Instead of focusing on gift giving for themselves or the children, they instead plan an experience together as a family sometime during the year, whether it be a concert, vacation, or event.

As a church body, they celebrate Advent in worship during the month of December and encourage everyone to celebrate this at home as well. When the children were young, before presents were opened, they would celebrate Advent, recognizing God gave hope, peace, joy and love, regardless of life’s circumstances. “This celebration keeps the perspective that Jesus is the center of all experiences in our lives,” Elizabeth said.

During the Thanksgiving or Christmas season they do things for another family, through the Hillvue Angel Tree or a family they know personally. The children as adults have followed these actions and also find a way to give to others. They volunteer at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for their Christmas program which Claci started doing in high school.

Since Steve’s accident in 2016, they also volunteer at the Vanderbilt Burn Unit, trying to bring the hope, peace, joy, and love to those families during this difficult journey in their lives. Regardless of what they are doing, they make sure everyone knows the true meaning of Christmas - that Jesus was born and is the reason for the celebration.

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