there were no presents under the tree
It was Christmas Eve — but
four children didn’t feel like celebrating.
They’d erected a small tree
in the corner of their humble living room, but it was barren save a few homemade
ornaments. There were no presents under their tree.
mother, a widow, was struggling to earn enough money to feed them.
So, they already knew there wasn’t enough money for Christmas
presents. The children kept their disappointment to themselves,
however, not wanting to add to their mother’s burden. Still,
it wasn’t easy to hear their friends bragging about their
Christmas presents and their large turkey dinners.
The doorbell rang and the oldest
son greeted an unfamiliar face at the door — a tall woman holding a
“Hi, I’m the Women’s
Ministries director for this area and we decided this year to give your family
some Christmas presents.”
The widow burst into tears, while
the four kids raced to unwrap the packages. Each box contained a shirt and
a pair of pants — new outfits for school.
“Kids, this is God’s
way of reminding us that He loves us,” the widow announced.
The women’s director departed
to a chorus of thank yous and a round of hugs.
The kids could hardly take their
eyes off their new outfits because it meant they would no longer be teased
at school because of their inferior clothing.
A few hours later the doorbell
rang again. To everyone’s surprise, their aunt and uncle and cousins
had driven many hours to be with them for Christmas.
Suddenly presents weren’t
that important to the kids. The family was together and that was
all that mattered.
That afternoon their aunt and uncle
restocked the cupboards with groceries and purchased a turkey for the Christmas
meal. But they had another surprise in store.
They led the four children outside.
“This is your Christmas present,”
their mother said, pointing to four new bicycles.
Their mouths opened and their eyes
swelled. “Amazing!” “Incredible!” “Thank you!”
the children exclaimed, giving hugs to everyone.
At first, the kids admired the
bikes as if they were expensive automobiles, touching and staring. Then they
mounted the bikes and rode up and down the street until it was dark.
The oldest son, 12, returned from
the ride and threw his arm over his mother’s shoulder. “Mom, I
want you to know I’m glad that you’re my mom. We don’t have
a lot of things like other families, but we have each other.”
“And we have Jesus, too,”
she added. “He didn’t forget about you, did He? He knew you wanted
a bike of your own.”
“He took care of us,”
the boy replied.
“And He always will,”
she said. “No matter what, remember that He loves you.”
I know this story. I was the oldest
son. Mom was right: Jesus always takes care of His children. He loves us.
He came to earth and gave His life for us that we might have a better life
here and now and the promise of eternal life in heaven.