It's Christmas Eve, friends. Here in Beranville we're preparing like I know so many others are doing. Wrapping those last minute presents, preparing one last Christmas treat and making a meal, giving attention to all those details that will make Christmas morning "just perfect" for our little son. I feel a sense of calm today. Yet, I must admit that, that hasn't always been so throughout this month of December.
Two weeks ago when I went on a big Christmas shopping trip (every shopping trip around here has to be BIG and planned well since it's a one hour drive each way!) I felt such tension that I wanted to "blow." Suddenly the pressures of being the mom, the wife, the daughter, etc who wanted to make Christmas "just perfect" for all of my loved ones began to mount!
I continuously prayed as I shopped asking the Lord to help me to remember WHY we celebrate Christmas and to help me keep my focus on the right things. Still, it seemed that my focus kept swaying more and more towards all the things on my to do list and less and less on the birth of Jesus Christ. More and more towards the materialistic things that I need to buy and less and less on the eternally important things.
Then, something happened...I decided to go through Culver's drive-thru for a bite to eat (this prego girl needed nurishment!). I ordered my food and pulled around to pay. Nothing unusual! When I was finished paying, I began to pull ahead to wait for my food when I felt something rise up in my spirit. I didn't hear an audible voice, but I knew what I heard and felt was from the Lord. He said, "Give him something." I knew immediately that "he" was the person who would deliver my food to my car. I hadn't seen anyone bring any food out yet, but I knew it was going to be a guy. I thought, "Huh? What am I suppose to give him?" Then, I remembered a Bible tract that was in a side pocket of my purse. The same one that I had been carrying around with me for quite some time, yet never even thought about giving to anyone.
"Oh Lord, surely you aren't really telling me to do this! I don't want to. It makes me nerveous. How do I know this is really You relling me to do this?" Yet, I knew deep down that I never would have thought of this one on my own. It took me completely out of my comfort zone. Then, He spoke again, "Give him some money too." I thought, "Whoa! Alan (my husband) won't like that." He's a very frugal guy and... but God didn't back down. Again, I felt, "Give him some money." I pulled a bill out of my wallet and wrapped it around the tract. I held it in my lap. This probably sounds stupid, but my heart was beating out of my chest! I honestly told God, "You better make him come out here quick or I'm not going to do it." Then, I put them both back into my purse.
I think much of my hesitation stems from working in the food service industry for so many years. I remember when other servers (waiters/waitresses) would find a tract on their table they would often make fun of the person who left it. Sometimes it made them angry...especially if the person leaving it didn't leave an appropriate tip. It turned me off to handing out tracts and other religious material because I believed it was often received negatively. Sharing the Lord with others in this way made me uncomfortable. I didn't want to "turn people off" to Christ.
Yet, in this situation I felt it was the Lord telling me to do it. I kept talking to Him, "Lord, I don't know why I care about what this guy thinks about me. I don't know him and the chances of me ever seeing him again are slim. Why am I more concerned about what he thinks of me than I am with what You think of me?! Why am I more concerned with my comfort than I am with this guys salvation? Why don't I want to share You with him? How can I work in ministry if I can't witness to people in everyday life? I DO want to share the true spirit of Christmas with others. Why am I so hesitant?" I felt such conviction!
I pulled the tract and money back out of my purse. I waited only a few minutes before I saw him heading towards my car...a young man in his early 20s. He handed me my food. I handed him the tract and money. I said, "This is for you. Merry Christmas!" He said with a big smile on his face, "Oh wow, thank you. Thank you!" I pulled away happily knowing that I had done what the Lord had asked of me (and it really wasn't all that hard!). I felt peace and satisfaction!
Why did He tell me to do this? Well, I'm guessing that this young man needed this at this time in his life. Perhaps God would use this event to impact his life. Maybe it was just a little seed being planted in the soil of his heart. Maybe he is already a Christian, but God was using this to show him His love...and provision. I'll probably never know how it affected this young man.
What I do know is how it affected me. I believe God was just testing my obedience...and reminding me of what is really important. He wanted to help me grow in my faith, trust and obedience. He wanted to remind me that my whole purpose of being here is to share Him with others. That's why He came...to give us life! Once we receive this new life filled with the hope and peace only He can give, it's not ours to "hoard" for ourselves. He wants us to share it with others! I knew that God had heard my earlier prayers to help keep my focus on what was really important and answered in a way I hadn't expected.
I'm glad that God spoke to me that day. I'm glad that I heard Him despite the clutter of my mind and anxiety in my spirit over finding the "perfect" Christmas gifts. I'm glad I obeyed. I know that I would have felt a lot differently if I would have pulled away from there without giving that young man the tract and money. I know that if I would have chosen to stay in my "comfort zone" I would have missed out on a blessing! I would have missed out on the real meaning of Christmas...HE GAVE US THE PERFECT GIFT for Christmas!! Now, He wants me to share that gift with others. That means I have to listen to Him, trust Him and obey Him!
It's easy in the hussle and bussle of Christmas planning to miss out on all the blessings and joy of the season! I pray that each of us will stay focused on Him, the perfect gift, at Christmas-time and throughout the year!