Twenty years ago, when I was a member of Houston’s First Baptist Church, each Sunday school class was assigned a family to “adopt” for Christmas. The church had identified many families within the community who were in need, and we all worked together to provide them with Christmas gifts. The family I had the opportunity to serve was one I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
My class adopted a young Hispanic family with two daughters, who were roughly 5 or 6-years-old. My wife and I were part of the delivery team that took gifts and a Christmas meal to them. When we arrived at their apartment complex in Spring Branch, at first I thought it was a condemned property. Most of the apartments were boarded up, and driving through the parking lot was similar to driving through an army artillery field because of the many, deep potholes.
Our destination was one of the few apartments that wasn’t boarded up. Our team gathered the gifts and warm meal and knocked on the family’s door. When the mother and father opened their door and invited us in, it was apparent that they had very little to their names. I don’t even think that they had electricity.
When we presented them with their gifts and the meal, the precious little girls’ eyes lit up. Their father and mother, who were overcome with gratitude, broke down in tears.
Like so many of you, I cannot for the life of me recall the majority of the material objects I’ve received for past Christmases. In fact, I can’t even remember the gifts I received last Christmas. This is not to say that presents can’t be wonderful and enjoyable; they certainly can be. However, out of my years on earth, the Christmas that impacted me the greatest was a day of giving, not receiving.
Standing in that family’s household reminded me that everything my wife and I possessed was given to us by the Lord’s grace alone. This Christmas, I encourage all of you to incorporate this mindset into your lives. Finding the time and the means to serve others is the greatest gift of all.