And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need.
These are the sacrifices that please God.
~ Hebrews 13:16, NLT
“Christmas is almost here,” Gloria sighed, “and I haven’t bought a single gift! Everyone has everything they could ever want or need. What could I possibly give them?”
“Really!?” Nancy said to her friend. “With all those store shelves overflowing with everything imaginable, you can’t find one single gift for anyone?”
“Well,” Gloria protested, “What could I give momma? I’ve wracked my brain and can’t come up with a single thing. She has all kinds of necklaces, and bracelets, and rings. So I can’t give her jewelry. She’s got a closet full of clothes and shoes, so there’s no use buying her those. And she’s got bookshelves bursting with books she still hasn’t read. So I can’t buy her any more books. Can you see my dilemma, now?”
There was silence for a moment, while Nancy considered this.
Undeterred, Gloria continued with her rant. “Then there’s my sister, Carrie, and brother, Larry, and all my cousins. They’ll come bearing a bunch of presents Christmas day, and I haven’t the foggiest notion what to get any of them. I’ve got to get them all something! I’d like to find just the right gifts for each one, if I could just figure out what that might be. I do love receiving presents, but I sure hate giving them!” she finished in a huff.
“Well!” said Gloria’s grandmother, who’d been listening in on the girls’ conversation. “When I was your age, I was happy to get any Christmas presents. My family was going through a difficult time, and there wasn’t much money to spend on gifts. I remember getting a Christmas stocking with a single orange and a few pieces of candy, and I was perfectly happy.”
“It would be a whole lot simpler if that were my problem,” Gloria sighed, “I’ve a list full of people with more than they know what to do with, but I still have to find them a gift they’ll absolutely love.”
“Didn’t they appreciate the presents you bought them last year?” Grandma asked.
“No, I don’t really think so. At least I could tell Auntie Susy didn’t care that much for the ring I gave her. And I tried so hard to find something really nice to give her because she always buys me such a lovely present each year.”
“Well, if you want someone who’ll appreciate your efforts, I know of several needy families who’d be easy to please and delighted to receive whatever gifts you gave them.”
Nancy piped in enthusiastically “Now, that’s a wonderful idea! Don’t you think so, Gloria?”
Gloria pondered this for a minute. “Yeah, that sounds like a lot more fun and a very worthy cause, too,” she agreed. “Who are these needy people, grandma?”
“Yes, please tell us!” Nancy chimed in. “I’d love to buy them some gifts, too.”
“Well, there are families from our church who wouldn’t turn up their noses at any gifts you gave them,” Grandma said. “For instance, you know Carla, right?”
“Of course, grandma, she’s one of our friends from Sunday school.”
“Well, her father recently lost his job and her mother’s too sick to work. They barely have enough money to put food on the table, let alone buy a turkey and all the trimmings for Christmas dinner. They certainly won’t be able to afford a nice present for Carla this year.”
“Oh, no, that’s terrible!” Gloria said.
“Perhaps you girls could put together a nice Christmas hamper for them and buy a little gift for Carla?” Grandma said.
“Yes, that’s a wonderful idea, grandma,” Gloria said. “We could buy them a turkey and potatoes and canned vegetables and crackers …” Gloria counted these items off on her fingers.
“But you mentioned there were several families who could use gifts,” Nancy broke in. “Who else could we buy presents for?”
“Well, there’s a single mother with a little girl who was telling me she doesn’t know where she’ll find money to buy a tree, decorations, or presents this year. Perhaps you could purchase a small tree, a few ornaments, and some little gifts for them.”
“Oh, I’d love that, grandma!” Gloria cried. “I’ve never bought a Christmas tree before. Could we go buy one right now before they’re all picked over, please?”
“Well, hold on just a minute,” said Grandma. “If you girls go ahead and do this, will you still have enough money left over to buy some nice presents for your family?”
“Yes, I think so, Grandma,” Gloria said. “And I really, really do want to buy some nice presents for these needy people.”
“And I have quite a lot of money saved up to help out, too,” offered Nancy.
“Well, I’ve a few dollars tucked away that I could contribute to such a charitable cause,” said Grandma, “so let’s go shopping this afternoon.”
The two girls jumped up and down and clapped their hands with glee.
Grandma’s heart was gladdened by the girls’ generosity. “I’m so proud of you girls! Instead of wasting your money on extravagant and frivolous gifts, you’ll be purchasing something that’s really needed. These people will be so grateful for such gracious gifts given out of the goodness of your hearts. And I know Jesus will be very pleased, too, that you remembered the poor and needy on His birthday.”