The Christmas season is upon us. To me it is a time of playing beautiful and festive Christmas music. It is a time of fulfilling family traditions — making candy wreaths, gingerbread cookies and houses, and candied almonds. We pass out treats to our friends and neighbors and we have been doing the same Family Home Evenings for years in the month of December. It is a wonderful, family time.
It is also a time to reflect on blessings we have received and to remember those who may be in need. Many shelters depend on Christmas as a time of restocking for the whole year, to be able to pass out jackets, clothing, and toys for children. Food banks are filled and dinners can be donated for months to come. Helping individual families also occurs. As Church members we could always go to the Bishop to ask whom we could help or it may be obvious to see.
Several years ago, there was a family in which the father had been released from his job before Thanksgiving. It was an unexpected layoff. With the holidays looming over the family, the layoff affected the father even more. Each day the father worked hard at sending out resumes and taking odd jobs to make some money. He was paid to chop wood, and to use a jackhammer to remove an old entryway. These were experiences he had never done before. He did work that to many may seem menial. But the father refused to let pride enter his heart, as he would do whatever it would take to feed his family. But, with each passing day and no job offers, the holidays started to be a reminder of what he could not give his family for the first time in their lives. The family was used to a comfortable life style, and hadn’t worried about their means before. His heart poured out to the Lord to help him find a job. He even opened his heart for a new career path if it was required. But, no opening occurred. With only two weeks before Christmas and his heart heavy, an envelope was delivered to his door. It contained a check in a large amount, enough to make mortgage payments and to buy Christmas presents for his family. He wept with his wife and they gave thanks to the Lord for the person or persons who had thought about their family.
Pride did not enter their hearts, but rather gratitude. What an example of an unconquerable spirit! This father demonstrated the humility needed to receive this Christmas blessing. He, having served many families himself in the past, knew he needed to accept this generous blessing with an open heart and in return his family and wife could accept it because of his example.
In 1 Peter 5:5 it states “be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. There are so many lives we can bless the holiday season. Some may be our next door neighbors and extended family member. May we this season, humble our hearts to receive the blessings our families stand in need of or service those families in need.
Wendy M. Johnson