Carol J. Sloan: A gift for my Lord
January 2, 2015
To the editor:
I'm under the impression that as long as I state this is my own personal belief and in my opinion this will be printed in our paper. So, I just want to share a story about me, my belief and thoughts, this holiday season. I am one that wants and believes in keeping Christ in Christmas. Jesus is my lord and savior.
I recently was laid off from my job right before the holidays. I've been struggling financially for some time. Like many others, I have had a lot of seasonal work, always playing catch-up only to find one more layoff. But, "Dear Lord," I said, "it can always be worse I realize that," trying to replace worry with prayer.
"Why, Lord? It's Christmas! I can't afford to pay my bills let alone buy Christmas gifts. What am I gonna do?" I thought. I used to be the one having everyone over to my house with an abundance of food I had prepared. I was the one who played Santa for my family and so many others. Our family used to get together. People are so busy trying to make a living now. All I have now are memories of our ma and grandparents, families all together. "Lord," I said, "I want to do so much for my dad. He is alone now. I was taught it's better to give than to receive. It's always been my gift, my Christmas, to give to them. I can't afford to go see my oldest son, he only lives 160 miles away. He has been out of work and has a family. I can't afford the gas. My youngest son lives here. He is a full-time employee at Walmart and goes to college full-time and does so much for me. I want to help him. I want my grandbaby to have a Christmas as special as the ones his granny had growing up. I am granny. Why can't I afford gifts or travel expenses or the extra food to share like I used to do?"
Unexpectedly an awesome humility silenced my complaining heart. Without utterance or movement, the Lord began to answer me. "I know it's Christmas, Carol; it's my birthday. What did you get me?"
I said "What do you mean, what did I get you, Lord?"
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He said, "Whose birthday is it? What did you get me?"
Duh, Carol! My unselfishness/selfishness hadn't thought about the real reason for the season. The expensive gifts I can't afford to buy doesn't matter anymore. I asked, "What shall I get you, Lord? How do I do that?"
He said, "You know." There was silence. I do know, Lord. I give you time spent with family/friends (making memories); volunteer my time for others (maybe a nursing home?); give my extra coats, gloves (warmth) to the homeless; visit a lonely neighbor or the sick; I will count my blessings; I will give thanks (I have so much); smile at a stranger; tell someone how much they mean to me; spread kindness, love and peace; love myself; love my enemies; hugs are free; do someone else's chores (just because); keep Christ in Christmas; forgive someone; don't judge others (treat others as you want to be treated); keep secrets; help one another; appreciate nature (a sunset, a snowflake, etc.); keep promises; forgive myself; over tip servers; wave at kids on school busses.
The Lord said, "Thanks, Carol, for the birthday gifts. You've got the right idea."
It's Jesus' birthday, dear friends. You want to give? Give of yourself. Happy birthday, Jesus! Merry Christmas! Oh, come all ye faithful. Come, even if you're not faithful. We are having a party.
Carol J. Sloan