Members of the Ron and Tanya Linzey family of Mountain Ranch, California, focus on the whole Word of God all year long.
The Linzeys, who have 16 children, celebrate a holiday season that stretches from October 31, which they affectionately call “Harvest Day,” through Easter.
“October 31 is when the world comes to your front door,” explains Charity Linzey, who is the sixth oldest child in the family. “It’s a day when you usually focus on the darkness but for us, it’s the first day to turn on the Christmas lights and light up the neighborhood.” The Linzeys play Christian videos and pass out chocolate along with copies of the Gospel of John and the book of Romans.
The front-yard evangelism comes naturally to the Linzey children, who have been taught the Bible from their earliest days. “We placed our (future) children in the Lord’s hands before we ever got married,” Tanya says simply. As to the number of children, that was God’s decision too, she said. “I had read a book called ‘A Full Quiver.’ We said, ‘Lord, however many children you want us to have…’”
Following “Harvest Day” in October, the Linzeys open their home for Thanksgiving as well, which happens to be Charity’s birthday. Anna, the oldest of the Linzey children, said she still enjoys a little ceremony the Linzeys share in remembrance of “the five kernels of corn.”
The kernels are immortalized in a poem by Hezekiah Butterworth who contrasts the meager food Pilgrims were forced to ration as they entered the New World with the colonists’ abundant moral reserves. Should your family wish to join the New England tradition, typically each person at the Thanksgiving table is served a mere five kernels of corn, the poem is recited, and then the turkey is carved. You can find the poem by clicking HERE. For a shorter five-kernel remembrance, try THIS.
Both Thanksgiving and Christmas usually include jam sessions in the Linzey family. In addition to a chorus of voices, these instruments are played by those in the household: cello, violin, piano, clarinet, guitar (including classical), mandolin, harmonica, flute, trumpet, and trombone.
The music usually goes on the road at Christmas for caroling in nearby towns. Christmas Eve is spent reading and acting out the Christmas story—many families follow this tradition, of course, but the Linzeys have cast members for every part! One year the family performed the play for the church Ron pastors, Grace Fellowship Baptist in San Andreas, California.
Throughout the month of December, the Linzeys listen to “The Triumph of the Lamb” audio series. “It gives us all such a peace about the New Year, Tanya says. “He (the Lord) knows what’s going on. …Being right with God, knowing where we’re going—if we fear the Lord we don’t have to be fearful of evil or fearful of man.”
On Christmas Day, following a big breakfast, the Linzeys have a unique “reveal party” at home. Each year during the month of July, family members draw names, Anna explains. “We spend the next several months praying specifically for our person and getting to know that person better.” The goal of the eventual Christmas gift is to “meet a specific need or minister to that person in a tangible way.”
That’s how Ron came to enjoy the Adrian Rogers Bible study series “What Every Pastor Ought to Know.” “I’d listened to Adrian Rogers for years,” Ron says. “I was interested in the ‘What Every Pastor…’ series and Charity saw me write that down and got it for me as a Christmas gift. It’s blessed me and my congregation.”
“It’s special when an older pastor instructs younger pastors,” Ron says. “Adrian Rogers was faithful from start to finish. He’s in Heaven now, but it’s like he was saying, ‘follow me as I follow Christ.’”
After their Christmas Revelation study, the Linzeys are well fortified to move into the New Year with confidence and anticipate their favorite holiday, Easter. Tanya bakes fish for dinner in remembrance of the meal Jesus served to His disciples on the seashore after His resurrection. The fish is accompanied by the “bread of life,” the “fruit of the vine” (figs and grapes), salad representing the “abundant life,” and a sweet dessert so that everyone can “taste and see that the Lord is good,” Tanya explains. The table is decorated with cards from missionaries, who are prayed over and appreciated for their willingness to “go ye into all the world” (see Mark 16:15).
The home is opened to the church congregation on Easter as well. Ron teaches a lesson on the Icthus symbol (you can find out about the SYMBOL HERE), and everyone is invited to sing praises with the musical Linzeys.
We at Love Worth Finding hope you enjoyed meeting the Linzeys. Their dedication to spiritual remembrance in their holidays is certainly inspiring. Perhaps you’ve found an idea or two to incorporate into your own celebrations…even if you don’t have enough family members to fill every role in your at-home nativity play!
This story was originally published in November 2021.