We had a family in need, and we organized the belongings. We talked to the kids about the meaning of Christmas, and how it’s not about our presents, but about the real Gift, and our lives for giving. They were beyond excited. A friend’s growth group collected items, we bought food, clothes and toys, piles of books, early readers and puzzles, wrapping each one.
The funny part is that Andrew and I were actually having a crazy week with so much bad luck, but each time we focused on this project, we felt separate from the hard, just joyful.
Our friends came over, and we talked up the need for secrecy with the kids, as they stared at us wide eyed, eyes shining as we whispered about the need to, “run, run away as fast as we can when we leave the gifts!” They were giddy with anticipation, as were we. We loaded the cars, and headed down.
Chain link fences and chihuahuas roaming the streets under a pitch black sky, cars jammed tightly across the streets, many families living under each roof. Thirsty grass, flickering but cheerful Christmas lights.
We tip toed up, up up the drive, wanting to more secret than ever, ready to dash at any moment…
“Hey guys, what’s up?” said the husband who was fixing an outdoor pipe, crouching low.
“Ummmm….nothing…” Andrew said, his mind blank. The other daddy starting to explain why everyone’s arms were full.
We were caught! Darn it, but oh, so bitter sweet as the kids ran out, and the mommy burst into tears, “I knew God wouldn’t forget us, we have been clinging to Him, desperate to see the light at the end of what could be a dark tunnel coming our way…”
And the kids cheered, and it all ended well.
“I know He will never leave our side…” she told us, as we unloaded each item, and their little girl showed us her special jammies.
And what we hoped would be fun, and cool, ended up being so much more as we bundled back up along the cold, cheery road, back to the cars with smiling, happy children, proud of the joy they sparked with some very special, but simple, gifts.
Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. //gal. 5.14