"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
I want to tell you a story. This really happened and I hope it will inspire your heart to do something like this too.
During the Christmas season a Mother and Daughter decided it was time to get a fancy dress for some upcoming, formal events. This year the Mother seemed to find it hard to do extra things. There had been a death in their family and Christmas just didn't sparkle like it had in the past. She was tired and worn on the inside. Money was tight and she was having a hard time justifying going and getting a new dress. It seemed like the dress fell into the not- a- necessity column.
But she realized that her Daughter really hadn't asked for many things this year and was really making do with what she had already. She even attended a formal Christmas party for youth group in something nice, while all the other girls came in fancy party dresses. The Daughter's spirits were not dampened one bit. Her Mother was very proud of her quiet strength and grace in a situation that, for most middle school girls would have been a disaster.
Mother decided that this was an occasion where she would do her best and with the Lord's help get her Daughter a new party dress. Maybe she could sell some extra patterns or use some of her grocery money instead.
When Mother asked her Daughter where she would like to start their search, her Daughter excitedly said,"How about Goodwill?" Her mother was pleasantly surprised at her Daughters thrift-sense response.
"Alright let's start there." Mother chimed in with excitement, thinking this could turn out to be a wonderful time together.
Now, like most middle school girls shopping can be a bit frustrating because there is always a certain" look" to be found, then, compound that with a second hand store and you have an equation for frustration.
Mother and Daughter eagerly looked around. They carefully searchrd the isles coming up with only a few options, two of which were promising skirts. The Daughter tried all the clothing on, finding small things wrong with each item, however one skirt seemed to fit the bill! It was black and long and just what the Daughter was looking for. To the Mother this meant heading else where to find a top to match. Oh dear, thought the Mother, this could be a long day.
With the last thing tried on and rejected the Mother turned to her cart with a heavy sigh.
A woman with a wide smile and twinkling eyes, was standing in line waiting patiently for the dressing room. "Is that your daughter?" she asked.
"Yes, she is eleven."Mother answered.
"I have a daughter too, she is seven. Your daughter reminds me of her"said the waiting woman.
" Mom I am done... this skirt is just a bit too tight." the Daughter fussed.
"Well if you don't love it, don't get it," the Mother sighed.
"Can I give you something?" Asked the waiting woman.
"Sure," said the Mother quietly, with a weary smile. Mother was thinking this woman was going to give her an article of clothing that she had found for her daughter to try on. Or hand her a business card and try to sell her something. Instead the woman dug under her heap of clothes and dug out her wallet. How was Mother going to tell her politely no thank you? What happened next was not expected at all.
Mother wasn't quite sure what was going on and the woman said with great joy on her face,
"I would like you to have this,"and she handed a $50.00 gift certificate card to the Mother. "I would love for you to go buy your daughter a new Christmas dress."
With a gasp of disbelief and tears welling in her eyes the Mother wasn't sure how to react. Is this real? Why would this stranger do this for me? Oh I can't take this I don't deserve such a gift! With encouraging words from the waiting woman the Mother took the card and hugged the woman she didn't even know. The Daughter in disbelief thanked the waiting woman. The Daughter's warm smile crept from ear to ear as she realized a new dress was a possibility. The waiting woman disappeared into the dressing room as if she hadn't ever been there at all.
The Daughter got a new dress and shoes that day, there was even money left to buy a matching purse and head band to fancy up her hair!
I can't help but see how this parallels so beautifully with the story of Christ and his "gift card" to us.
Blessings from the Lord often come so unexpectedly. During a Roman census and political strife.
Blessings are packaged in ways we don't recognized, as a sweet child- king.
Given to us by a God we have not seen and a stranger to many.
All you have to do is take this gift of salvation with tears in your eyes, say thank you and hug the one who has shared it with you. Then praise the Lord for His goodness and Love. Serve him with gladness by giving to someone else. Serve him by loving someone who doesn't deserve it. Or help someone who is less fortunate than yourself.
This is the gift of Christmas: the unexpected child-king who served us with His death so that we might have eternal life...it is a lesson in giving I will never forget.