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.


Michelle Pendergrass said...

Wow! I cannot believe how much they blessed you guys! I saw the unwrapped presents and how cool everything was and how much the kids loved what they received. The biggest lesson was that God is faithful in such an abundant way. We tend to have so little faith and yet, He still does these things for us.

The kids saying that this was the answers to their prayers--brings to life the childlike faith we so often hear about and yet, typically don't comprehend because of all the worries and stress we stuff in every empty pocket we have weighing us down until we're so exhausted we can't function. Then along comes a little one who prays, expects, and receives, just like that. No second thoughts.

Amazing, isn't it?

Malia Spencer said...

I'm so glad to hear that! What an amazing gift. I was hoping and praying that you would be blessed this Christmas and you were.

I'm glad that the kids saw their prayers answered. It just lets them, and you, know how much God cares and is in every detail of your lives. :)

Jenny said...

So happy for you and praising our Abba Who knows our needs before we know to ask. And so show Himself so faithful to young believing hearts makes it all the more special. Sending hugs to you and the kidlets. Love you guys!
Merry Christmas!

Phil said...

"It just don't get no better than that!"

Heather said...

Amazing! I love when God works through His people--this is what it truly means to be human.
And what a poignant prayer for your little girl.

Diana said...

Jen! I'm so thrilled for your family! Wow what an awesome way for the little one's prayer to be answered. This is one of those Christmas's that will forever be remembered by your family.

I loved reading your post because we do this for people in our church/community but never know what the impact is, so thank you for sharing how much it meant for all of you!

Jeanne Damoff said...

This is beautiful. You made me cry.