Tuesday, December 9, 2008
And A Little Child Shall Lead Them
Isaiah 11:6 "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them."
What a great quote. "Christmas can not be bought in a store, Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more."
This quote from one of my husband's favorite Christmas show (the original) brings to mind the Charlie Brown Christmas show I watched last night. Whenever I see this show it reminds me of one our most memorable and special Christmas's my family had a long time ago when Heather, our daughter was about 3 1/2 years old.
This was during a time in our lives when we were so poor that we depended upon prayer and God's grace to bring us our next meal! It was truly a miraculous time in our lives. We learned so many lessons during those years. It was also the year we have called our "Charlie Brown Christmas".
We lived far away from our families and did not want them to know (nor worry) exactly how poor we really were. We lived in Dallas, Texas in government subsidized housing. My husband and I had just started teaching in a Christian school making wages that didn't even meet minimum wage. We were also actively involved in our church leading the Jr. High Youth Group and a nursing home ministry. We were so busy, so poor, but at the same time rich in blessings, happiness and love. During our first five or so years of marriage both of our families exchanged gifts. Since we were so far away, this meant mailing gifts or even money. Being dirt poor this particular year, we waited for our usual Christmas monetary gifts from our parents before we could purchase gifts for all our family members and if we had any money left over, we would buy Heather some gifts.
As Christmas approached we realized we did not have any money to purchase a Christmas tree. Every child needs a Christmas tree - right? Jim thought for a while and grab his little axe and said, "Let’s go out and get a tree!" I looked at him as though he had lost his mind. I said, "Jim, we are in Dallas, Texas, where are we going to find a try that we can cut down?" He said, "We're going to look behind the church!" So off we went! As we were looking around behind the church we realized the only trees they had were little cedar trees. Jim took his axe and chopped a tiny little cedar tree down and we brought it home. As Jim set the little tree on the end table I almost cried. It was so pitiful! But to a 3 year old, this was a great adventure! Daddy chopped down a Christmas tree! We pulled out our decorations and as I put an ornament on the tree the limb went completely limp and the ornament fell off the tree! I sat down on the floor and began to cry. Heather came over to me, put her arms around my neck and in her sweet Texas draw, with a little speech impediment said, "It all wight mommy, we can make twee pwetty!" How could I disappoint that sweet little girl? So we put the ornaments all the way inside the tree and lightly put tinsel on the ends of the tree. You know what? Heather was right! It didn't look too bad... until...towards Christmas day when almost all the bristles were off the tree and all there was left was twigs for limbs! But that didn't matter to any of us!
In those couple of weeks we found out that Christmas was more than presents, shopping, baking, and commercialism. We spent those couple of weeks enjoying one another, making special gifts for family and friends, singing Christmas Carols, visiting the underprivileged children and their families from our Youth Group, and delivering some Christmas cheer to the elderly in the nursing home. Most importantly our daughter, even at the tender age of 3 learned that it was better to give than to receive. As she dictated her Christmas letter to Santa, she asked Santa for a new dress for her mommy and a new suite for her daddy, and she listed some more things for her mommy and daddy... then she said, "And Santa, if you have some money left, I want a new dolly." My heart just melted!! She had a whole list for others and one thing she wanted herself! Do you think she got that new dolly? You bet! Did mommy and daddy get what she asked for? Another miracle! Someone from church gave Jim a new suit and a woman at church cleaned out her closet and gave me her clothes!
"Christmas cannot be bought in a store, Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more."
We knew about what Christmas Day was… the birth of our Savior. But that year we learned that Christmas was perhaps a little bit more….. innocence of a child, the gift of giving and sharing Christmas cheer, the joy in the heart of a child….our child as she taught us at the tender age of three what the true meaning of Christmas really is….Unconditional Love!
Ephesians 3:16-21 "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."