Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sharing the Meaning of the Season

We had one of the most memorable Christmases this year, but maybe not for the reasons you'd think. It's been a hard year. I had told the kids not to expect much for Christmas. One of my clients had gone under and didn't pay me. It was a significant amount, money that I was expecting to pay December and January's bills plus Christmas. I could get the kids one gift each and bills still wouldn't be paid. I felt terrible.

The church secretary called me and said someone wanted to adopt a family for Christmas and would we be willing to be adopted. I was a bit surprised. I hadn't shared much of our story with anyone, but a few people knew we'd had a hard year. So I agreed, but I didn't tell the kids. I didn't want to get their hopes up in case it fell through.

When she called back a couple weeks later to ask when I wanted to pick up the gifts, she told me there were eight boxes.

"Oh, that's nice," I thought. "The kids will get four presents each. That's really sweet."

"Eight boxes two feet by two feet," she continued. "The pile is up to my shoulders. Plus they're bringing you food for Christmas dinner."

I was so stunned I couldn't speak.

I told the kids that someone had adopted us for Christmas and that we were going to pick up the gifts at church. When we walked into the room, Sissy's face lit up. "Mom, this is exactly what we prayed for! God took care of us!"

I started to cry.

It took two trips with a hand truck plus several more trips by me carrying food and our little Jetta was overflowing. Food sat on the back window and under the kids' feet. We couldn't have gotten one more thing in that car.

When we unloaded the presents and put them around the tree, they had to be stuffed into every nook and cranny. I'd never seen so many presents in all my life.

What amazed me what how much time and thought was put into the gifts. It wasn't just a matter of spending money. Clearly whoever bought the gifts knew my kids enough to know their tastes. Plus there were homemade cookies and hand-knitted afghans for each of us. They even got gifts for me.

We always hear how it's more blessed to give than receive. But in Blue Like Jazz Donald Miller makes the observation that it can be hard to receive because it implies need, and we don't like to be needy people. We like to be the ones who have the surplus to give from.

I know that's true of me. This year has been very humbling for me. It's hard for me to accept other people's help. It's hard to write this blog post. But the Bible says to tell of the Lord's wonders and faithfulness. Psalm 78:4 says, "We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord. We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles he did."

Because bottom line, this is about God and His faithfulness. He provided for us. Not just for our needs, like He's promised to do. But for some of our wants as well. And abundantly. What a wonderful lesson for my children. And me too.

I don't know who adopted us for Christmas. I do know they will be rewarded in heaven, but I also hope they'll get some little reward here on earth too.

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