I was 32, a young mama, and battling breast cancer. Cancer had come at an already-hard time. Richard worked 70+ hours a week in our farming business. When we paid our business expenses each month, there was little left to pay ourselves. The pressure made me feel like I was near to drowning.
And now Christmas was approaching.
We had told no one about our financial battle. So that day, as I walked to the mailbox, I dreaded what was inside. It would surely contain bills from chemotherapy, surgeries, and radiation, as well as all the usual bills.
But this day was different.
Tucked among the other envelopes was a card without a return address. When I opened it, cash fell out. The inscription simply read, “You are loved.” I stood at the mailbox on that wintry day and cried like a baby. To this day, nearly 30 years later, I have no idea who left the card in my mailbox.
What I do know is the joy I felt. I drove to the Dollar Store and bought gifts for my kids. I paid an outstanding utility bill. I bought groceries. That day someone became an answer to prayer, one I prayed daily.
God, we are doing all we know to do. Help us.
One joy stealer is keeping all the Christmas joy to ourselves.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t treasure time with family or enjoy those things that make it special. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t grateful for thoughtful gifts, or Aunt Freda’s homemade chocolate cake. We love those things and they are beautiful.
It’s simply opening our heart to including others in that joy, especially in this season.
What might that look like?
- Inviting a college student, refugee family, International student, someone whose family lives far away, to your table
- Donating to an organization that helps others who are struggling with housing, food, or finances
- Secretly paying a bill for someone
- Dropping a note of encouragement in the mail with a small gift
- Carrying a comfort kit (with nonperishable snacks, a small amount of cash, travel size toiletries, a warm pair of socks or gloves) with you in your car and giving them out as the Holy Spirit leads
- Buying gifts for someone and leaving them on the porch on Christmas morning
- Delivering a Christmas treat to someone who has lost a loved one in the past year
These are only a few ideas and I’d love to hear yours.
Today’s JoyKeeper truth is this:
When we give, we just might be the answer to someone’s prayer.
There’s joy in that. There’s joy in partnering with God to love someone els e. There’s joy when we do it for no other reason than to love them tangibly.
How can you share Christmas joy with someone else?