Excerpt from the book "52 Things Kids Need from a Mom" by Angela Thomas
Kids Need Their Mom....
to take Christmas to people who have nothing
My husband says that when he was a little boy his mom would put him in the car with a basket of food or a bag of clothes and then drive him across town. Wherever they stopped, she would have him get out of the car and carry in whatever she had brought to the family they were visiting. He never had to say a word, just be polite. His mama did all the talking, and Scott just carried things in, stood, and listened. He says he can't count the number of trips he took with her or the number of places they went. "Anywhere she heard there was a need," he says. But the lessons of those trips are the lessons that shaped his huge heart of compassion.
When the children and I married Scott about three years ago, he had already been taking care of several needy families in town. I had no idea while we were dating because he never said a thing. For years, he had been quietly taking holiday meals, gifts, and back-to-school supplies to several families who were surviving on next to nothing. The first Thanksgiving after w weere married, he went to the grocery store, bought meals for several families, delivered them, and forgot to tell me until later.
"You did what?" I couldn't believe he forgot to mention this huge detail to me. So he told me what he'd been doing for years. And I told him, " I want in on that! And I want my kids to do what your mom taught you."
So the week before Christmas came, and I got to work. Scott bought his regular carts of food, and I found out that he also buys toiletry items, detergent, soap, and things like that. I loved adding to the joy by baking some cakes and cookies, and buying and wrapping individual gifts for each person in the families. The night we packed up our car was such a blast. I think we may have even driven two cars. We loaded up all the kids and told them what we were going to do. "We're going to visit some families who don't have very much and give them some things to make their holiday brighter." The kids wanted to go, but none of us had any idea how addictive the giving would be.
The night we pulled up to a tiny home that Scott had visited for years. There were no signs of holiday there. No Christmas tree. No strings of lights. Not a wreath on the door. It took all six of us several trips to unload the food and gifts we had brought. The elderly grandmother cried and cried. Her sons wiped tears from their eyes. Her grandchildren stood in the kitchen awestruck. They kept telling our children thank you with each new box that was stacked on the table. I watched my kids take in the sweetness of giving. I could see how humbled they were. I could see the obvious registering in their hearts we have so much, they have so little.
Before we left, Scott asked if we could pray for them. My kids needed to stand in that dimly lit kitchen holding hands with people they had never met, smelling the smells of nothing on the stove, feeling the cold of not enough heat, and bowing their heads to pray for God's provision for that family. I know the family was grateful we came, but I was so incredibly grateful that my children were standing inside a lesson that would shape them for a lifetime. As we left that first home, the grandmother hugged all the children, spoke blessings over them, and told us all to come back anytime. The seed of giving was planted in their hearts. I prayed it would become their passion.
We made a few more stops that night and all the holidays since, but this past Christmas we had a different version of the lesson. This last December, one of the families knew we were coming, but when we arrived, the house was dark. And it wasn't just dark. It was spooky dark. The kids and I thought nobody was home, but Scott had a different idea. He knocked and knocked on the door, and finally the back door creaked open about a foot wide. The man Scott knew was there, along with several other people. It was the situation Scott had feared. The were home, but using drugs, too embarrassed or too strung out to answer the door.
So there we were, a family of six bringing Christmas to a crack house. I didn't have a clue what to do. Do you give Christmas to a whole houseful of law-breaking drug addicts? Well, apparently you do. Scott told the kids to unload the sleigh, and there they went, sliding one box and bag at a time through the barely open back door. Scott did all the talking to the person inside the house. Nobody else said a word. Honestly, that stop went pretty quick. I was ready to get into our car, lock the doors, and get out of there. When we were on our way, I looked over at Scott like, Oh, my, what just happened? Loud enough for everybody to hear, he humbly offered, "Everybody needs Christmas."
No one in our car needed another sermon about what just happened. God had preached a sermon that would shape our souls. Everybody needs Christmas. Everybody needs the love of Christ. Everybody needs somebody to be Jesus to them.
We have to teach our children that no matter how much we have, there is always something we can share.