Christmas of 2002 was rough for me. I was in law school, and unlike many other students, I had taken out the absolute minimum amount of loans to avoid years of indebtedness after graduation. I was eventually grateful for that, but in the middle of my second semester, I was literally pulling together change to pay for groceries.
The week of exams, I was exhausted and depressed from all the hours I was spending alone studying. In the back of my mind was the nagging reality that I had just enough money to pay for gas to drive home, but there was nothing I could do about that. I’m sure I could have asked family members to help me out, but I didn’t feel right about that — people had already been unexpectedly generous to me, and the idea of asking for financial help was humiliating. God decided to spare me the embarrassment.
During exam week, my favorite janitor, Sallie Mae Moore, saw me in the library and asked me to come out to the parking lot with her. I followed her to her car, where she opened up the back door and handed me three wrapped gifts: one for my mother, one for my grandmother, and one for me. Mind you, she didn’t know my mother or grandmother, but she felt like God wanted her to give those gifts to us. And when I opened my gift and card, I had no doubt God was behind it — not only did she give me a nice, Timex watch; there was $25 cash in the envelope.
“Oh my goodness,” I said, “you have no idea how badly I needed this. Thank you so much,” I said, giving her a hug.
That $25 gave me the cushion of cash I needed to drive home after exams, and it also provided a reminder that God cared about the fact that I was living below the poverty line. He wasn’t finished.
At some point during Christmas celebrations, my older sister and her husband said they had a present they wanted to give me. When Don hoisted a medium-sized box into my hands, I almost dropped it because it was so heavy. When I opened it, it was full of about $250 in change that they had been setting aside for months — probably years. And on top of the change, Don and Lawrie had included an envelope with a check for a very substantial amount of additional money. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I don’t know if Don and Lawrie got the same memo from God that Miss Sallie did, or if they just did the math and realized I was in need, but it doesn’t matter. Both saw a need, went far beyond what was expected of them, and came through for someone who was struggling.
In the midst of this season of spending and excess, I’m sure there’s someone in your life who’s acutely feeling the crunch of their financial need. I’m not saying you have to go overboard and provide an unexpected Christmas blessing for them — I’m saying you get to. Seriously, I dare you to cut loose and come through for someone who’s counting their change this Christmas. In going above and beyond to provide for them, you’ll be imitating the One who, with His generous gift, made the first Christmas possible.