A Christmas Blessing for All©

by Debbie Guinn

“Dear children, don't just talk about love. Put your love into action. Then it will truly be love.” 1 John 3:18 (NIRV) Being the single mother of three teenage girls is difficult and being on disability— due to blindness resulting from Multiple Sclerosis—makes not only paying bills difficult, but made buying Christmas presents impossible, last year. My girls took it well when I told them we would not have enough money for presents and we all agreed—and were content—to shift our focus from presents to the true meaning of Christmas…the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Little did I know that across town the Martins were teaching their four children about the importance of giving to those less fortunate than themselves. Having saved one third of the money they earned by doing chores the previous year, the children had decided to give it to someone in need at Christmas. A local radio station had a Christmas Wish contest to help those in need and unbeknownst to me, Suzanne, a dear sixteen-year-old friend, had entered my family and me into the contest. Although we did not win the contest, the Martin family had gone to the radio station to look through the contestants for a family to bless with the money they had saved. As they looked through the entries, the middle son felt a tug on his heart when he read our entry, submitted by Suzanne. The Martins agreed to choose our family to bless with the money they had saved. On December 23rd, I received a phone call from an elated Suzanne, revealing her secret Christmas Wish and the Martin’s desire to help us. I was speechless! To know that this precious sixteen-year old would want to help make our Christmas special, was so touching to my heart. Then, to learn that a family chose us, out of the hundreds—even thousands—of wishes submitted, overflowed my heart with joy and gratitude, beyond anything words could express, at the moment. The Martin family came to our house on Christmas Eve, bringing the money that they had saved. It wasn’t in a check; it wasn’t even a rounded off amount. It was every wrinkled, crumpled dollar that they had saved taken straight from their

piggy banks…given from the unselfish hearts of children who wanted to bless us for Christmas. This experience wasn’t about the money we received. We soon forgot how much was in that pile of money they brought us. The real gifts—the real blessings— were those that came from obedient hearts that desired to give as Christ did. God impressed my sweet friend to nominate me...and she did. God impressed that little boy to choose me...and his family did. In return, God blessed my girls and me beyond words. I guarantee He blessed the Martins and Suzanne too… and Christmas took on new meaning for everyone. This year, as we celebrate Christmas, let us not forget the true reason for the season. Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth. Just as Christ came to earth, offering hope and bringing the promise of salvation, we also ought to share that hope and salvation with others each and everyday. I pray that none of us— myself included—get so caught up in the Christmas festivities that we neglect the Holy Spirit’s nudges on our hearts, prodding us to give the most important gifts of all. It may be the gift of submitting a Christmas Wish for a family who won’t have any presents under the tree this year. Maybe you are the one who is to fulfill such a wish. It could be you have a hurting friend who needs an encouraging word or a listening ear…or needs you to stop and pray with them, instead of saying you will pray for them. God may want to use you to bring somebody into His family this year by sharing why Jesus came to earth…to die for our sins so that we can live forever with Him in Heaven some day. The greatest Christmas gifts are not those that are bought with money, wrapped in pretty paper with great big bows, and placed under the tree. They are acts of love, performed out of unselfish hearts…and they usually bless the giver as much, if not more than, the receiver. I had the privilege of giving such a gift this week. The precious five-year old who was on the receiving end said, “Miss Debbie, you must be really happy because your whole face is smiling!” I was indeed happy and you will be happy, as well, when you give a love gift from your heart. Your whole face will be smiling too! “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” I John 4:9 (NIV)