Meaningful? What is the most meaningful Christmas you ever celebrated? Was it the year you received a new X-Box, sixty-inch smart television, a new car, a new home? Was it a time when you went on vacation?
For my family, it was a year when we could not afford to purchase gifts. There were no wrapped gifts under the tree, and our little girls received just one present in a paper bag. It was our first year of full-time ministry, and finances were very tight.
On Christmas Day, we didn’t have a big meal. It was different from every other Christmas we had ever celebrated. That morning, we loaded our car with our entire illusion show with music, ventriloquism, puppetry, and more. We traveled to two facilities that day. The facilities were home to about one hundred severely handicapped children and teens.
We interracted with our audience the best we could to make their Christmas a joyous one. Our young daughters held hands with some of the children as they sang to them. Their smiles and sincere appreciation became their gift to us.
I did not know if the message was getting through to the children, but it was. The nursing staff said the children responded well to the program, and they praised the Lord for it.
As we were packing up, many of the children wanted us to talk with them, and we did. There was no quick exit for us as we spent time with the kids. I will never forget one little boy. He struggled for a long time to say any words. Finally, he thanked me and said, “Praise the Lord.” He was genuine and sincere. I hugged him and watched as he smiled back at me.
My daughters were not quiet in the car as we drove away. I think they said it best, “Daddy, this was the best Christmas we ever had.” It was a Christmas where we gave ourselves, but we received the satisfaction that money could never buy.