When Gary and I started dating, we decided to go to the mall at Christmas to pick a name from the “Christmas Angel tree”. It was fun to look on that tree and find a child with similar interests as we had when we were kids, asking for a telescope or a skateboard or a baby doll that cried. Not only was it fun, but knowing we could help make a child’s Christmas felt great! We did this for a few years after, but by the time Brooke was born we stopped. Not necessarily because we didn’t want to, but with our own kids to buy for and money becoming tighter we kind-of forgot about others in need.
This Christmas is by far the tightest we’ve ever been. Ashamedly, I have been worried that we won’t be able to get our kids the things they want for Christmas. I keep trying to remind myself of what is really important, but with the commercialization and my humanness it’s often been difficult.
As part of their holiday event, Piera from Jolly Mom and Felicia from Go Graham Go asked us to share our Christmas traditions. I posted about how- for as long as I can remember- my granddad would read us the Christmas story from the Bible before we could open presents on Christmas Day. He wanted to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.
I love this idea, and now that my kids are a bit older and can understand this better, I’ve been trying to remind them of this daily. Yet somehow I have failed to truly remember it myself.
God gave us the only gift we need; His son, Jesus Christ, who died for us so we could live eternally with Him. Christ gave of Himself for us.
Today I went to Walmart to get the kids a few Christmas gifts. I asked my mom to watch them for me. She gave me some money and asked that I pick a Christmas Angel from the tree there at Walmart, as she had forgotten to do this.
I was saddened at the sight of that tree. It was filled with names, so many that each branch had stacks of names on them. What saddened me more was what I saw on those slips… Names and ages of children (I saw none older than 15), asking not for toys, but for mere necessities such as clothes and shoes! What saddened me the most was watching hundreds of people pouring into the store, not giving even a glance at that tree. Not.Even.A.Glance. I can’t say I haven’t been guilty of this myself. Caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday, worried about what I need to get for myself and my family, worried about the lack of money. Selfish…
Even as I write this, I am brought to tears. Tears of sadness at the thought of the thousands of people who will go without this Christmas. Tears of shame that I was worried about my kids and the amount of toys they won’t be getting.
You know what I did at Walmart?? I looked through those names and picked 5 children. Yes, I got my kids a few gifts too, but I spent 2 hours picking out just the right outfits for 4 boys ages 11, 9, 4 and 2, and a 4 year old girl; Children, just like mine, asking not for toys, but clothes. As I turned those gifts in and worried about the fact that I had probably just spent too much money, a scripture came to mind. “…Inasmuch as as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40 (KJV)
My kids have clothes on their backs. They have shoes on their feet. They have toys and food and shelter. They have ALL they need. I have all that I need. God is good, and He has provided even more than I deserve.
I am thankful for this reminder and thankful for the opportunity to give this Christmas, just as Christ gave to me.
**Even more amazing; as I sit here thinking of this I am reminded of our memory verse in homeschool this week. “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” Proverbs 19:17 (KJV)**