Friday, December 24, 2010

Sharing The Love of Jesus at Christmas

The Christmas tree was beautiful with the multi–colored lights and ornaments. It was countdown time. The big day was approaching. But underneath the tree there were only a few gifts. They were gifts the children (me and my little sister) had wrapped up, planning to give some of our personal items as presents.

Dad was out of work. It was becoming clear that purchasing Christmas gifts was to be a very difficult task. Like most children, we had a list of things we desired. But, as the clock ticked toward Christmas, the tree remained bare.

One day a car drove up. A young couple got out of the car and knocked on the door. They told us they were from First Baptist Church (Greenville, MS). I thought it sort of odd they were at our house. We did not attend FBC. In fact, we didn’t attend church at all. They told us they had some gifts for us. I am not sure how they knew of our situation. They may have told my parents how they learned of us, but all I heard was the word gifts.

They began unloading the car and bringing packages into the house. I do not remember the couple’s names. I do remember the man’s name was Jeff (hard one to forget). I remember as he brought gifts into the house, he made it a point to show me my name on some of those gifts. Once all of the gifts were in the house and under the tree, there were more gifts than I had ever seen under our tree. I remember wondering what could be in all of those packages. I also remember the couple talking about God and telling us those gifts were to let us know that Jesus loves us and cares for us.

Several years later I gave my life to Jesus Christ. It did not happen at FBC Greenville, but I never forgot that act of kindness. In fact, those people showing up at our door with gifts was permanently etched into my mind. It was one piece of a beautiful collage of events God used to draw me to Himself and save me by His grace.

I do not remember seeing that couple again. But, I have thought about them through the years. In fact, I thought about them today as my wife and I were delivering gifts from our church to a poor family who lost everything they had in a house fire. I am thankful God is allowing me to be a part of blessing families as I was blessed as a child.

Today, my wife and I were the couple who drove up with gifts. There was a little boy who reminded me of myself. I handed him a gift bag full of stuff. It was cold outside, so I told him there was a warm shirt in the bag. He immediately pulled it out and put it on, along with the beanie. I told him to keep looking. Inside the bag was a game like the one he had lost in the fire. When he saw it, he was shocked. He sat the bag back down (without pulling the gift out) and in amazement said, “No way! No Way!” His mom had some joyful tears in her eyes. Then the young man said, “I thought this was going to be a crummy Christmas. But, this is awesome!”

As we unloaded all of the gifts, food, and clothes provided by God through his faithful servants at Walker Baptist Church, I kept looking over at that young man digging through his gift bag. He had a joyful look in his eye. It was a look that I must have had that day the couple from FBC brought gifts to my family. I do not know if that young man will grow up and become a preacher. But, I do know this, he will never forget the day that couple from the church drove up and helped his family in their time of need. And perhaps he will look back one day and see that event as one of the many things God used in a great collage of events that led to surrendering his life to Jesus Christ. And perhaps, one day, as he is driving over to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to a family in need, he will remember the day he put on that warm shirt and received that game, all as an expression of the marvelous love of Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas everybody.

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