One of the greatest acts of service for our family this year has come in the form of a brother traveling across the country (with their brood of seven!) to surprise his dad for Christmas. Our sweet Pop has been a bit blue due to his recent knee replacement, missing our annual family gathering in Phoenix, and losing his best friend on Thanksgiving Eve. So, my brother and his sweet wife decided they would load up their crew and head to Big D for a little surprise action.
He was surprised!
Somehow the LED colored lights didn’t match our old colored lights around our door.
It was pathetic.
But here are a few of our neighborhood showstoppers:
On Christmas Eve one of our family traditions is a little Secret Santa action. We try to think of a family that has had some struggles during the year and could use some extra blessing. Then we gather a few small items, drive to their house, put them on the porch, … and do a little ding-dong ditch (yes, I’m still a teen at heart. Just not a sullen, emotionally-driven, slurkey one… well on my good days!)
We didn’t come up with this idea. Several years ago, I heard my friend Ruth Meek share some stories at one of her Redeeming Christmas talks. It seemed like such a fun idea, we adopted it that year and haven’t stopped. We all promise secrecy – take an oath to never tell – then sit back and watch the fun as the recipients open their door and look around for the culprit.
We had lots of families to choose from, I’m sad to say. Lots of job loss, many struggling marriages, a few
deaths – even of children! I’m not going to say who we chose, but we sure had fun finding special gifts for the family. It never has to be anything big. In fact it’s much better if it’s small.
The key behind Secret Santa is for the family to know that someone else remembers their pain. Even more, that Christ feels their pain – each minute of every day. I haven’t had loss like some of these folks, but I can only imagine the loneliness/sadness that comes with severe pain. We hope that our small effort to be Christ’s hands and feet will remind them of the all-sufficient love and grace provided by the true and only Great Comforter.
Speaking of the greatest gift, here’s an email I recently received from my friend Wendy. I heard Chuck Swindoll read the entire story for his broadcast of Insight for Living last week, so here you go…. Merry Christmas!