“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
I can remember it was Christmas eve and there was nothing under the Christmas tree. My sisters and I understood why but as anyone can understand the realization was still difficult for us. We are sitting in the living room when we hear a knock at the door. When we open the door there are at least 10 people standing there with a smile on their face. Some had boxes of food in their arms and others had big black trash bags full of toys. There was a bag for each of my sisters and I. Attached to the bag was a gift certificate for free skates. The entire moment was beautiful. They came into our apartment not judging where we lived but showing compassion and joy with the food and toys they had brought us. The moment that changed me forever was when they gathered around our table held our hands and prayed for us. Honestly, I can’t remember the words they prayed I just remember the feeling of peace and comfort it gave me. I knew everything was going to be ok. I knew in that moment God was watching over us and He had a plan for us.
Standing there as an 8 year old little girl listening as they prayed I remember thinking “one day!” One day I’m going to be standing where they are. I wanted to help in the same way. 23 years later I can say I am living the “one day” out. I don’t say this with a “look at me” attitude. I tell this story because I’m so thankful that God took an uncertain time in my childhood and molded and shaped it into a beautiful memory. I am so thankful I now have the opportunity to give back to my community in the same way it was done for my family growing up. Giving back is the greatest way to say thanks!
This year my family started The Christmas Bag Project. It’s a way for me not to forget. Its a way I say thanks for all the Christmas’ that people poured the love of Jesus on my family. I know what it is like to have someone show my family so much love and this is what stirs a passion in my heart to share that same love with others.
Each month this past year we bought a toy for our Christmas bag Project. We would take the toy home and pray over the child and the family who will receive the toy. After praying we put the toy in a pile that we can see everyday. Ellie will often bring us a toy and say “open please” we use this opportunity to tell her who the toys are for. We tell her the importance of giving to others.
We are excited knowing that a little boy and girl will have toys to open on Christmas morning. However, we are most excited that the prayer we prayed over the families will overflow into their lives this coming year.
Maybe you are not in the place to be able to give this year. That’s ok! You might be on the receiving end this year. I want you to believe that the year is coming that you will be on the giving side. Start believing that “one day” you will be able to give. Start praying for those you will bless.
For those of you who are in a season that you can give, I want to challenge you to find a way that you can give to the community. Jesus has called us to be givers.
Places you can give:
1. Toys for Tots
2. The Grind at Grace Outreach Center Plano TX (choose a child’s name and shop for them)
3. Operation Christmas Child.
You might have your own special way to give this season. Share with us.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
The moment a group of individuals walked into our apartment with gifts, food and the love of Jesus, a fire was starting to burn in me. A moment in life that started out to be so difficult was turned into a joyful Christmas memory because of the obedience of a group of people who chose to shine His light on my family that Christmas eve. I can never forget that Christmas because it changed me forever. I pray we all choose to be His light this Christmas season and the year to come.
What are some simple ways we can be His light this coming year?
Looking forward: I’m so excited because this next 2019 year for our Christmas Bag Project we will buy a game each month! Our prayer is that the game the child receives will bring their family closer together.