One of the statements my wife and I hear often goes something like this, “I don’t know how you do it!”. The simple answer is – WE do not do it! The long answer is found within a story Jesus tells. It goes like this:
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
The Christmas season always highlights for me how God shows His love through the acts of others. My family and I are the beneficiaries of this love and I must share what that looks like at our house this past month:
December started off with a unidentified call. “You don’t know me but I go to your church. I raise cattle and just took a cow to the butcher. Could your family use half the meat?” We rarely eat beef because it’s just too expensive for a family of 14. We’ve had steak dinners twice this month!
Then a guy I work with says, “I’ve got an extra ticket to the Eagles game. I know you don’t really get a chance to go out. Can I take you?” This may be considered a mere game for some but was an oasis of renewal for me.
Next a co-worker that’s already supplied much of the boys’ summer wear says, “I have several winter coats my boys outgrew. Can you use them?“ Three coats perfectly sized to my guys.
My wife receives a call, “My son is no longer in disposable undergarments. I have cases of youth size medium”. These are Sam’s size and allay the cost of one of our biggest ticket items for months!
The nurse in charge of scheduling tells me, “You’ll only have to work four hours on Christmas Eve. Someone picked up your night shift so you can be with your family on Christmas morning.” Stunned, I don’t even know what to say to such a kind act!
“Son, what’s wrong?”, my father asks as I stare at a rotting tree in my front yard. “Dad, I’m worried this tree is going to fall and take out those power lines. I have no idea where I’m going to get the money to get this down.” I wake two weeks later to find tree surgeons expertly bringing down the tree; the expense is paid for by my parents.
“Merry Christmas! The mayor and town council selected your family to receive this special gift”. Four firemen stand at the door, each with a turkey and all the fixings for four complete dinners.
“Most of my college loans are being converted to grants and scholarships for next year!”, my youngest daughter in college tells me. “Also, I only have to pay $25 for books this semester. The rest of them are covered by TRIO (a special program for students in need).“
I awake after night shift to my phone ringing. The caller ID shows it’s the administrative number for the Division of Trauma at my hospital. Answering, I hear, “We’ve all been reading your blog in the office and we want to do something special for your family. We’re sending Christmas Eve dinner to your house.” That (DAD!) just happened and look at this spread!
This is merely a sample of the amazing things that happen in our lives. The generosity goes on and on:
- A friend, a retired nurse, is spending the mornings I work helping Amy get the kids off to school. (She also knitted the adorable winter hats in the below picture!)
- A huge group of volunteers cares for our guys in a special needs Sunday school program at church. This allows Amy and I to attend services without a worry.
- Hand-me-down clothing is constantly directed to us from work, church and friends. This gives us a near-zero dollar budget line for clothing every year.
- Our children’s dentist never charges us beyond what insurance pays. This is a savings in the thousands given the many dental “train wrecks” piled in the mouths of our kids.
This is the truest religion, the sincerest form of kindness and the warmest illustrations of unconditional love that one could ever experience. It is impossible to put into mere words our gratitude for these gifts! I can only say, in the true Spirit of the season, I wish everyone a Joyous, Blessed and Merry Christmas!