Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Present

My wife is not buying me a Christmas present this year and I’m not buying one for her.

Now, before you jump to the conclusion that we’re having some kind of marital strife, let me assure you that is not the case at all.

Sometime just before Thanksgiving, we were asked to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

My first thought was, “We can’t afford that.” (Actually, that’s my first reaction to just about anything.)

My lovely wife and daughter will tell you that I am painfully, excruciatingly cheap.  When my daughter was younger, if she somehow cajoled me into buying lunch, I would agree only if all involved (including any friends she had along) ordered no more than three items each off the dollar menu.

For some reason, she found this embarrassing--even irritating.

You will note that I said, “my first thought” was we couldn’t afford it. After 23 years of marriage, I am now occasionally capable of not actually voicing my first thought.  The fine art of shutting up has taken me many, many years to put into practice—and I’m still woefully inept at this essential marriage skill.

What actually came out of my mouth was something like, “Well, if the Lord wants us to go to the Dominican Republic, we will go to the Dominican Republic.”

Thank you, Holy Spirit!

We investigated, we asked questions, we prayed about it, and we were lead to start the process.

One of the things I learned was that the cost was going to be about $1622. Each.

Now, I have been greatly blessed by the Lord, our God, and my family is not in want in any way, but I am not a rich man. To me, $3244 is a very large sum indeed.

Still, as I told my wife, we serve a God of abundance and if He wants us to go, He will provide what is necessary.

Of course, with those kinds of funds needed, some cuts to the family budget were called for. Hence, the agreement between my wife and I to not spend money on Christmas presents for each other.

The organization sending us provided us a sample fund-raising letter and others on the mission team gave great advice on how to go about it. I wrote the letter, we bought stamps, and my wife (an absolute master of organizational skills) developed a spread sheet mail-merge database and sent them out.

In all, about 75 letters went out.

Within ten days, friends, relatives, co-workers, and members of our church provided 97% of the amount needed—and we know there are still checks in the mail.


It’s incredible! It’s miraculous!

If I didn’t know God was involved, I would not have believed the response.  I am overwhelmed at the generosity shown both by the people involved and the Holy Spirit who moved hearts and souls to help us go and serve the Lord.

So, there’s not going to be a new power tool under the Christmas tree with my name on it this year.

But the gift I have is that the Lord, the King of kings, came down from His throne as a tiny baby wrapped in cloth and laid in an animal’s feeding trough.  He brought the whole world the good news that He would take away the sins of all who believe and give them the gift of eternal life!

Yes, the gift I have is that He has entrusted me and my wife to bring that most incredible, miraculous, beautiful message to others.

It’s a message we can all share this Christmas, even if we don’t travel 2400 miles to do it.

Today’s Praise
Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe after all we've projected
A child in a manger?

Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother’s shawl
Just a child
Is this who we've waited for?

Cause how many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Only one did that for me.


Lyrics from “How Many Kings” by DownHere






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