This year our church decorated a lovely Christmas tree with gold lights, big red bows, and paper ornaments. Each paper ornament had the name, age, and gift request of a child in our area whose family is struggling financially. These ornaments have been plucked from the tree and members of Church of the Atonement have been busy buying and wrapping gifts to fulfill these children’s hopes for special presents. Many of the requests are typical childhood wishes: “girl, age 6, wishes for a Christmas Barbie”, “boy, age 9, wishes for a skateboard”, and so on. But some of these wishes, like the one I chose to buy for, speak to a more basic need: “girl, age 10, wishes for jeans, size 14, not slim”. Somehow, that strikes a very deep chord in me; knowing that the child whose ornament I picked asked for clothing rather than a toy, sobered me.
If you haven’t yet found the spark to light your Holiday season this year, may I recommend finding someone who could use a little extra help and meeting part of their needs. You will be amazed how it will warm your heart and light up your spirit. I’m looking forward to all the fun with my family, especially my little granddaughters who will enjoy opening a pile of gifts from under our tree. The laughing and oohing and ahhing will be one of the best parts of our celebration. However, I know that Christmas morning I’ll be thinking about a little ten year girl (who wears a size 14 jean, not slim), and praying that she’ll feel God’s love poured out in a box from a stranger. And isn’t that what Christmas is about, God’s great love? Joy to the World, the Lord has come!