All yesterday we heard about the winter storm warning and sure enough, last night the rains changed to ice and ice to snow. This is what it looks like here now. I admit that waking up early and going outside when no one has walked, no car has driven or no snow plow has come through is absolutely beautiful. With everything white, all the ugly is covered; amazing. After that comes the shoveling, scraping of vehicles and trying to get their frozen doors open and watching the snow plow come and knowing he will make another pile at the end of your driveway. But our snow plow man is awesome, each year he sees me outside and he takes care of that pile at the end!
The snow just added to the feeling of Christmas. Yesterday was the church outreach that I look forward to all year, our annual gift wrap at the local mall. We have done this for around 15 years and I have taken care of the details for the last 6 or so. We set up at the mall and provide everything from the box and tissue paper to the tag to write the receiver's name on. We charge absolutely nothing and refuse any donations. It's one of the most practical ways we have to show God's love in a real way. We get all kinds of looks from those who refuse to believe the signs that say "free". You would think is said something totally different!? We hear those who get the nerve to come and make sure the sign is what it says it is. And then you get those who look, who ask, who get their gifts wrapped and still insist on trying to hand you money! Free just doesn't exist in its true meaning here in the United States I guess. Over a period of 14 hours we wrap, we talk, we laugh and we show God's love in a season where most seem to forget the real meaning. In total we wrapped 877 gifts and blessed alot more.
There are always hundreds of stories that come from that day. Each person who volunteered a couple of hours to wrap has stories of their own. There is one that stands out to me. A woman walked up who, in appearance couldn't have been 25 years old, very nicely dressed, her head hanging down and spoke not a word. The lady wrapping for her asked if she was having a nice Christmas so far. That's all it took. Someone cared enough to ask! She said no and then talked of how her husband had just left her and her 3 small children and she wasn't going to even wrap any of the gifts for the kids because that would mean spending money she didn't have. The lady wrapping said she understood just where this woman was coming from as her husband had also left her many years ago and she also had a couple of toddlers at the time. She assured her she would make it through and that God was with her. Now all of this transpired in just a few minutes but that woman left with a smile on her face, her head held a bit higher and with joy in her heart! No gift purchased with money can ever do that! And all just because a woman cared enough to ask another how she was doing --- and then actually listened to her reply!! What a thought!
Pastor Dave spoke to us this morning on just that kind of joy! We need to remember something this season ----
IT'S NOT ABOUT THE GIFTS WE GIVE EACH OTHER --- IT'S ABOUT THE GIFT GOD GAVE US IN JESUS!!!!
Don't underestimate the power of a simple word of caring! Try it and see what happens.
Until next time. . . Susan and Monty