A Few More Stories For A Post-Christmas Lift

          One of our newer members commented, “You folks do Christmas all month long!” And we do! I love to preach Christmas sermons, and to collect Christmas stories. Now we’re on the other side of Christmas, gearing up for a New Year. But let’s let the Christmas spirit linger just a little longer, shall we?

          Christmas brings out the best in most people and usually we hear about someone expressing the Christmas spirit in a generous way. Tulsa’s Fox 23 reported that Christmas came early for shoppers in a local Walmart after a secret Santa paid off every layaway.

          The gracious individual not only paid layaway debts, but also bought $50 Walmart gift cards for the 162 customers, then donated a generous amount to the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.

          Can you imagine the thrill customers experienced when they learned their accounts had been paid off and they could come pick up their items? The donations totaled nearly $50,000. (http://www.ajc.com/news/national/secret-santa-pays-for-thousands-dollars-layaway-items-oklahoma-walmart/r5dl8YraGsZMHhWytmTwiI/).

          In Wake Forest, North Carolina, a US postal worker and a good Samaritan acted fast when the postal truck caught fire while making deliveries. As soon as the fire started in the engine, the driver scrambled and started unloading packages that included numerous Christmas gifts. As the fire spread, they were able to get all the packages off the truck.

          “If it wasn’t for her quick thinking to pull right over and remove the parcels, it could’ve been tough,” said Wake Forest fire chief Ed Barrett. “Somebody did save Christmas . . .” (http://www.ajc.com/news/national/watch-postal-worker-saves-christmas-after-mail-truck-catches-fire/8sXlbguDvd5NJYt06CoURN/).

          The Christmas spirit is not just about giving material gifts. It’s about giving of oneself. Two Milwaukee brothers who had just gone to the mall to buy new snow boots were on their way home and noticed a man in a wheelchair trying to shovel snow off of his sidewalk.

          Daniel, Jr., 10, and Dominic, 6, Medina pleaded with their dad to stop the car while they pulled out their brand new boots and put them on. They borrowed shovels from the man and spent the next 45 minutes clearing his large corner lot’s sidewalks and also the nearby bus stop.

          The proud dad, Daniel, Sr., snapped a photo, posted it on Facebook, and it took off. These boys found a way to give that didn’t involve spending money.

          Of course, the greatest Gift ever given is God’s Son, whose birth we celebrate at Christmastime. Because God shared with us, we should find ways to share His love with others.

          Dr. J. Robert White has served as executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board since 1993. During his first December, he shared this story:

          It was Christmas morning in Los Angeles 30 years ago and Father Hopkins was unlocking the doors of the church in preparation for the 6 a.m. mass.  A quick glance around the sanctuary indicated that everything was in order.  The worshippers came and went.

          Just before 8 a.m. the Father checked again to make sure everything was together, but to his great dismay, the Christ child was missing from the nativity scene. 

          In the frantic search that followed, there was no sign of the missing statue.  Everything else in the scene was untouched.  Who would want a plaster-of-paris likeness of baby Jesus?  The statue wasn’t worth much, but the nativity scene certainly was not worth anything without the Christ child.

          Was this a prank?  Did a Christmas scrooge strike?  Was this the work of an atheist?  One fact was clear:  someone had the gall to walk right into the chapel take baby Jesus right out of the manger.

          Just before the 9 a.m. mass, a seven-year-old boy appeared at the front door of the church.  He was pulling a brand new red wagon.  In it was the missing statue. 

“Where did you find him?” asked the priest.

          “I didn’t find him, I took him,” replied the boy. 

          When asked why, he said, “I prayed for a brand new wagon and I promised Him that when it came, I’d give Him the very first ride.”

           I like this Christmas spirit of sharing and giving. Maybe we can keep it going all year round?

David Chancey