The Christmas Train

By Mark Hopper

I have shared in the past that I received a Lionel Train set for Christmas when I was a young boy. We have a photo of me and my father and my grandfather playing with my new train on Christmas morning in the 1950’s.

The train set was lost for many years in a closet in my parent’s home. I thought they had given it away after I got married. When we helped my parents move out of their house, my brother discovered the train set but he didn’t tell anyone.  He surprised me on Christmas Day with this mystery box.

We have a photo of me, and my children and my father playing with that old train at Christmas in the 1980’s.  After we moved to Diamond Bar, that Christmas train ended up on a shelf in our garage for many years.  Finally, some of our adult children asked me to get the train down and set it up for their children to see.

I was reluctant to get it down and set it up. I didn’t know if the train even worked anymore.  But, children and grandchildren can be pretty persuasive. Last year, I got the train box down and set it up around the Christmas tree.  To my surprise, the train worked! They were delighted to see Pop Pop’s train.

However, the wires that powered the transformer were brittle and the train engine was sluggish. I took the engine and transformer to a model train store in Costa Mesa. The owner was able to clean up and lubricate the engine and put a new cord in the transformer.  My childhood train was running again!

Now, it is the Christmas season again and that means it is time to get out the Lionel Train. When two of our grandchildren were at our house recently, we set up the train in front of our Christmas tree. I let them help me operate it. They enjoyed it and I did too.  My wife took a video to capture the memory of another generation playing with the train together.

I don’t know what childhood memories you have or what Christmas gifts that you may have kept over the years.  But, let me encourage you to look in the closet, the attic or the garage and see if there are some childhood memories like old dolls, toys or trains that you can share with your children or grandchildren this year. They will be glad you did and you will too.

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd


Christmas Eve Services:

9:00 / 10:15 AM & 5:00 PM