The season always seems to take my tangled up emotions and send them spiraling into a tailspin. I get stressed out about buying the “right” presents, having enough money, or making everyone happy. And every year I pray it will change…..
I want it to be about Jesus. I want him to shine through all of the chaos. I want people to see Jesus in me but I fear instead they see an angry, impatient and frustrated person. Once again I fail and then get caught up in the ugly emotional landslide that makes the holidays depressing.
I prayed specifically that my heart would be different for 2013.
Christmas isn’t about gifts, parties, money, trees or me. It’s about loving and caring for others.
Our tree was decorated by our four granddaughters and later I redecorated it. The next day they came back and redecorated it again. A few days later they redecorated it again. Needless to say most ornaments hang on the lower limbs and that is where they are going to remain.
We decorated, made lists, purchased gifts, attended parties like years past yet wanted this year to be different.
Don and I thought we could pay off someone’s layaway at Walmart on the last day it was due. Then we considered giving money to a single Mom. But an opportunity began to unfold when our oldest granddaughter asked if she could give money to a family whose kids used to go to her school. A girl has leukemia and they were trying to raise funds for the family.
Then we heard through a friend about another family. Through similarities in the story, we found it was the same family our granddaughter had helped.
The family of six has four kids, two girls ages 4 & 12, and two boys ages 15 & 17. Sadly, their 12 year old daughter, named Grace has leukemia and her body quit responding to any treatment. She would be coming home for Christmas after spending months in the hospital at Loma Linda. Yet there were no gifts, no tree, nor any money.
Through a network of resources things began to take place. Perfectly orchestrated, one of Don’s customers asked if he could give $500 to help a family for Christmas. Don knew exactly who could use his donation.
Before Grace was to come home, Christmas lights were put on their house, presents were purchased, and money was donated. I personally had the pleasure of buying a new bedroom ensemble for Grace and her sister. Picking out matching comforters, pink sheets, fun pillows, owl pictures, rug, and girly girl things my heart leaped with joy.
Then we were informed that because the family had had to cut back on any excess they no longer had TV service. With two teenage boys in the house Don and I were moved at the sacrifices they willingly made for their sister. So we paid for a year of TV and internet service for the family.
Yet, it was more than I thought it would be. And honestly……. I winced. But we both felt we needed to do this for the family. So we did.
While finishing up the last of my shopping I went to Kohl’s in Palm Desert. They didn’t have everything I needed in particular sizes, colors or brands so I went to the Kohl’s in La Quinta. I found the size I needed for one gift, the color for another, but could not find the brand item. After several minutes, I finally found someone to help me but had resigned myself to the fact I’d have to choose an alternative. I was so excited when the clerk found five of what I was looking for. Everything was coming together.
I waited in a long line and after my $500 worth of merchandise is discounted to $206.00, I start to pay. The clerk states he needs to ask me a couple of questions:
· Are you a citizen of the United States?
· Are you 18 or older?
Thinking this was odd as I glance back at the long line waiting behind me; I shake my head and ask why are you asking these questions now? There are people waiting……
He responds, “You won the dream receipt.” Pardon me? He says a second time, “You won the dream receipt, I have to get my manager.”
Kohl’s has a program going on through Christmas that one person every hour in every store wins a dream receipt and they get EVERYTHING they purchased for FREE!!!!!!
I walked out of the store with a smile on my face and $500 worth of merchandise for free.
I sat in my car thanking God for turning Christmas around for me. Matthew 10:8 ran through my mind…. “Freely you have received, freely give.”
Don and I knew we were to pay for that cable service and God rewarded us for obedience. We’ve learned what goes around comes around and we truly serve a loving and caring God.