The year was 1974 and we had been married just a little over a year. We had a small baby and a tiny 3rd floor apartment. Yes I had a job but we had not a dollar to spare. There was no Christmas tree, there were no presents. We had no special meal prepared and no plans. As I finished my work on Christmas eve after my normal work-day I received my pay envelope and to my surprise along with my check there a $50 bill inside as a bonus. In those days that was nearly equal to a week’s pay! I could hardly believe my eyes as I looked up and thanked my boss! I couldn’t wait to get home to show my wife!
After a quick meal we packed our little boy into the back of the car and headed out to the downtown to see what might still be open to buy some things for Christmas. In an open lot we found one of the last trees left from the season. It was tiny and scrawny but at five dollars we happily handed the man our money and tied it on top of the car. Then we headed to Woolworth’s and found single bulbs from boxes that had been opened for just 10 cents apiece. I have no idea what gifts we purchased, but when we returned home after the last store locked its doors we had real fun in celebrating. It wasn’t at all about comparing our lights to the neighbors or about large expensive gifts. We were entirely content in the knowledge that God had been watching and given us a special Christmas blessing. It was a moment I will savor forever and look back on as our most Merry Christmas of all.
Things may seem out of control, bleak and hard, yet in the smallest things God comes to remind us again each Christmas that Jesus came to be with us. He didn’t come to Bethlehem to be coddled and spoiled but to live out a simple life of grace and to give His life for ours. Merry Christmas to all. God bless and keep you all through the year ahead!
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23