Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Memories

During the Christmas season when I was growing up, I remember a couple of memorable moments that have impacted me as an adult. One memory is of my dad. He passed away when I was 18, so this is one of my most special holiday memories.

I had a friend who came from a large family. Becky's dad was a part-time preacher and carpet layer. They struggled to make ends meet. It was sometime in the 1980's when I my dad did something I will never forget. Before I go on, you must understand, my family was not "rich". We had what we needed and some of what we wanted, my parents taught us three kids a strong work ethic and before I was thirteen I had already realized that I could make some cash doing different odd jobs...babysitting, cleaning...Anyway, that is what makes this such a special memory. We were at church when I saw my dad walk up to Becky's dad and hand him a bundle of money. It was exchanged during a handshake. I knew what dad was doing. I saw Becky's dad's eyes well up with tears and I watched 2 men embrace in a strong manly way. I will never forget.

What I learned that day is that needy people are all around us. Some are needy because of generational poverty...their parents were needy, their grandparents and so forth. Some are needy because times are tough. With the economy going south I am seeing more of this everyday. People who could normally take care of their family but because of the economy, a job loss, health concerns...they can't. And then there are those who don't want to do better for themselves. They aren't motivated, don't care, use excuses.... I don't have to look far in my town to see each one of these scenerios played out.

What my dad did was put feet to action. He saw a need and did something about it. I also saw the response of a grown man wanting to care for his family and seeing hope and gratitude in his eyes jumpstarts me to action. I learned you don't have to have a lot to do a lot. My family didn't have money to throw away. There were three kids and my uncle and my parents living in a modest home with one income, yet, God placed a burden on my dad's heart to help meet the needs of others. I doubt anyone else besides my mom saw what happened that day at church, but it was one of the loudest sermons ever preached to me in church.

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