Inside the refrigerator was only a light bulb. Empty cupboards and furniture rescued from discards decorated her clean house. Her husband had left her shortly after their educationally-challenged son’s birth eleven years ago. Her minimum-wage salary provided little. “We’ll manage,” she often said. And they did, somehow. She had reason to complain…to be bitter…to not believe. How did she face life so boldly?
This day she would cry. We helped her put away the donated groceries from our church. They would have a Christmas breakfast, dinner and leftovers for the first time ever. She wept when she saw the gifts and clothes for her son in the bottom of the box complete with wrapping paper and cards. It would be the first time in eleven years she had wrapped a Christmas gift for him to find under the tree on Christmas morning.
The outdated but neat Christmas tree stood in the corner. Underneath was a cardboard cut-out manger scene. Even the most festive home with lights, gifts, food and laughter could not compare with the worship of a loving mother and handicapped child singing carols. They understood the real news of Christmas. So many with so much can have so little. Others with so little have so much.
I wonder if God wept with joy as the greatest of Christmas gifts, His Son Jesus, was placed in a manger’s crib. God’s mighty, miraculous gifts of love are found in unsuspecting, even difficult places. Toys break; clothes shrink. But love endures. It overcomes. Life’s circumstances do not diminish it.
Prayer: We are surrounded by your love, Lord. Thank you for the gift of the people we love. Help us not to take them for granted. You are the greatest of all our gifts, Jesus. We cannot praise you enough. In your name, Amen.