Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas Token

Dear Lord, my heart is breaking that I can't even afford to buy my kids in Sunday School a little gift for Christmas. Father, I have chosen You and Your ways again, and I'm going to have to learn to trust You if I'm going to survive and thrive in this renewed life. I know this. Still, how can I teach them by example how to give if I can't give just a small token? They are so small and innocent, just 2 and 3 years old, Father; but then You know all of this. PEACE on Earth You say. You, Whose name is Breath. "Breathe, Gina...breathe Me in. Breathe in peace, breathe out worry. Someone else is taking care of them. I AM." As she concentrated on exhaling the stress, giving it to the One Who could take it, she continued dusting the furniture in their cozy first home.

Gina had known for a while now that it's truly more blessed to give than to receive. First, she had been reckless with her finances, making it impossible to even give her parents and sister anything for Christmas a few years back. The sad and sick feeling that started to make her stomach churn and squeeze out the tears made the bright and beautiful season of joy she had always loved, crushing and shaming. How would she face them with nothing substantial to represent how much she really loved them and her new brother-in-law?

What a sweet surprise it had been that Rick and Stacy had ended up together! When the childhood friends finally admitted romantic feelings for each other during High School, it was still a bit of a puzzle for the analytical Gina to figure out. They were absolute opposites…a perfect, complimentary fit. Stacey was going to need someone like him, almost like herself, her big sister. Now that they were both married, it gave her hope that she and her own husband would weather the storms they had gone through in their shorter marriage.

Just as Gina had brought her own debt to their budget, he had brought his impulsive spending done “for her”. Money was tight, it’s rare when it’s not, and Gina’s husband had “surprised” her with several major decisions without so much as a “how about we…?” For some reason, he was not at all happy that she had recently decided to take their little boy to church and raise him to know the Lord. Oh, he said he believed in God; but he had experienced so much confusion and deep pain in his young, just barely 30-year life. She prayed, “Lord, help him to understand that our son’s eternity is at stake, even if he won’t recognize how he needs You himself.”

As a teenager, she had learned that “without faith it is impossible to please God” and “faith without works is dead”. She had always been a do-er…a classic over-achiever. So when she heard there was a need of teachers for the little ones, she saw a way to try and please God while serving “the least of these”. Now she was stuck between trying to please God and please, or not dis-please her husband by asking for a few dollars for a small treat for them. She would probably hear, “I can’t give you any more until next payday”. It was the same every payday. So Gina kept on doing what her hands found to do, and silently thanked the Lord for her little home, asked Him to keep her Police Officer husband safe and to prepare the best possible future for their son.

When she came to the bookcase, Gina lifted the blue and white Chinese ginger jar to dust beneath it. As she went to set it back down, she wondered what might be inside. She lifted the little round top and there was a five dollar bill. Now she knew for certain that no matter what the future would hold for her and her little family, she would always find enough to share. Her Father and the childrens' is One and the Same. The tears that sprung up in her eyes this time made her feel like a shimmering, twinkle-lit fountain.

Psalm 50:10 “For every beast of the forest is Mine,

The cattle on a thousand hills.

11 “I know every bird of the mountains,

And everything that moves in the field is [d]Mine.

12 “If I were hungry I would not tell you,

For the world is Mine, and [e]all it contains.