Beckah was silent as they pulled away from the family's Christmas party. She had smiled and joked with family and friends, but her friend Linda, being the observant and wise sage she was, called Beckah aside and asked her why she wasn't eating. Beckah, responding like a brave soldier, said she was just a little under the weather. She knew that if she said anything that all, the frustration, fear, anger, and panic might came rolling out in one great weeping gush of tears, rage, sobbing, and convulsing panic.
She and her husband Jack had both been out of work for four months. The money was gone, the electric bill due, and the car payment was behind. They had sold everything they could, hocked jewelry, and dropped every unnecessary services they could. Jack had worked every odd job he can find, but it wasn't enough. It barely kept food on the table. By this time next month, the house would be in foreclosure, and in three months they would be out on the street. They had no family to move in with, no prospects, no jobs on the horizon, and the economy was still looking very grim. Meanwhile, government was still spending on everything but the economy. It was hopeless absolutely hopeless.
Finally home, Beckah just wanted to collapse. She went to her room drew a warm bath, sunk down in the tub, and cried. For the first time in years Beckah found herself praying ... really praying; the kind of praying she did when she first became a Christian. And while no jobs magically appeared on the horizon, after a good cry and a lot of prayer, there was a tiny speck of peace just knowing that she could still talk to God.
Ho, Ho, Ho! Tis the season to be hustled falalalalalalalala. Normally, this is the time of the year when everybody is standing around with their hands outstretched, from the department stores to the charities. Everybody is reminding you of all you deserve, all you should be thankful for, and "give."
Well, they are half right, that is, if your electricity isn't in danger of being turned off, your house payment has been made, and you have a job to go to every morning. If this is the current situation in which you find yourself, then you are indeed blessed because presently there are about 30 million of our fellow Americans who don't have anywhere to go when they wake up in the morning.
No! I am not going to hustle you for even one dime. I am not going to tell you to give to me, or this worthy charity, or that worthy charity. There are some great charities out there, but you should decide where your money goes. As for me ... I'm going to do something different this year. I'm going directly to the source of the need and cutting out the middle man.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to give to the Salvation Army and Wounded Warriors, but this year I am going to do something different. According to the National Retail Federation Americans spent $504 billion in 2009 during the Christmas holidays. Chances are that number will be about the same this year.
So this year I'm not going to go to Macy's, or Dillard's, or Radio Shack, or Penny's, or Sears, or any of the other stores for my Christmas shopping. This year I am going to wrap presents and give them to my family and friends. And inside those presents will be the story of a family that we helped in their name. The present might read like this:
Bob and Cathy, instead of a bottle of wine this year, please accept our gift of a Christmas meal for a mom and her three kids whose husband is serving in Afghanistan. She is "living" on about $18,000 per year. My gift to you is a gift to them. Knowing you as I do, I know you will be thrilled with this present.
To Family: As you open this present, I wanted you to know that Katie and I talked about it and decided this year that we were going to do things a little different. We knew some friends that were unemployed. They had no money, no hope, and nowhere to turn.
Because of their dire circumstances, this year we've decided to spend our entire Christmas budget on two families. So, let me tell you what our family got you for Christmas. We got you payments for family one. There was a shiny new house payment for Jack. And for Beckah, we lavished her with two car payments, and for the kids we got the very latest in utility payments so they could watch their television, and a full blown Christmas dinner. And here's the best part ... no assembly required.
And for our kids, we got Don and Cindy caught up on their house payment, paid the cell phone bill, in case an employer called someone could answer, and as a stocking stuffer we made them a wonderful Christmas dinner. Hope that all of this fits under the tree. I'll tell you, Katie and I have gotten pretty good at shopping because every one of these presents fits perfectly. There was not one exchange of any gift we got this year. They were all just the right size.
Now that's Christmas. Can you imagine if everyone, all three hundred plus million of us, would just take 25% of our Christmas spending and help an unemployed family what that would mean to them and to the economy? It would mean a $125 billion stimulus to the economy without spending one cent of tax money.
And churches, you can help too. With all the special offerings taken this time of year, and all the extra money you bring in, why not adopt a few families this year? You can't help everybody, so why not really help a few. But be careful, pick out only families that are worthy of such a blessing. Make sure the parents are good role models for their kids, that they are just down with the economy, and not "professionally" unemployed.
Come on businesses ... you can help. How about you tradesmen? This Christmas why not give the gift of a patched roof, or fixed plumbing, or a replaced window for a worthy family in your area?
And you department stores ... how about a free appliance for a needy family? And car dealers ... we haven't forgotten about you! Do you know what the gift of a good running car would mean for a young family struggling to get to the new job they finally found after 18-24 months of endless job interviews? It would mean the world to them.
Listen, you don't have to do the job alone. There are 340 million of us out here. This won't solve all of our problems. Long term we need to fix the economy with a constitutional budget, free enterprise, and honest dollars, but in the meanwhile, this will help.
It will help the people you share with; it will help the economy; it will help ease the family's burden; and, more than anything, it will help you. Those of us who still have somewhere to go when we wake up in the morning, it will help us remember how blessed we really are. It will help us remember who we are as a people. It will help us remember what America and Americans are really all about.
My countrymen, my friends, my fellow patriots, you are needed now more than ever to help us pull this country together. I know it is Christmas and nobody wants Mr. Scrooge lurking about casting humbug over their holiday cheer. However, I believe that we are under attack in so many ways that there is little hope of coming through this situation whole.
George Soros and his fellow traitors, both in and out of government, are attacking our monetary system and have involved the Chinese in their seditious plot. The dollar collapse may be inescapable. The dark heart of militant Islam has set its sights on America. The world is spinning madly out of control and there is little we can do about it. The system is about to reset. When it does, one of two systems will arise from the ashes of that ruin. It will either be the cold, hard, New World Order of an international oligarchy of thugs and tyrants, or ...
You and I will have laid the ground for rebuilding the American community again on those first principles, which include all of us caring and sharing with the rest of our family, friends and neighbors; not as a commune, but as individuals who care about each other and giving others a helping hand. This is not about government programs, this is about human kindness.
This year I hope you will consider the gift of Americans helping Americans. Nobody needs to know the family's name you help. For that matter, nobody even needs to know what you did unless you want to tell them. But by your kindness you may be the only lifeline to the desperate household of a neighbor or family member in our scared nation, and the only lifeline back to the America we once knew. We don't need government to take care of us. All we need is We ... us to take care of the U.S.
Remember ... there was no welfare office when Mary and Joseph showed up in Bethlehem. She did not seek free medical care from the government. Nor did she kill her baby because it was inconvenient. She brought into a world, darkened with sin and sadness, the light of all mankind.
This was prophesied 700 years before the birth of the Messiah back in the book of Isaiah.
Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7: Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
And Luke says in his classic Christmas description in Luke 2:
1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were
accomplished that she should be delivered.
7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
This may not be, and, in fact, probably is not, the time of the real birth of the Savior, but this is when we celebrate His birth as a nation, so let's make the best of it. Let us truly celebrate Christmas with those around us this year with the gift of blessing others at Christmas. Really, how much stuff do you need? It's just stuff. Will it be remembered in July? Probably not. But if you make a car payment, or pay a utility bill for a struggling family, do you think that will be remembered in July? I would venture to say, that gift will be remembered twenty years from now and will be listed forever in eternity.
Let this be the year when we all say, "Bah humbug!" to advertisers, bankers, and the typical Christmas hustlers and give the gift that will be remembered in eternity, the gift of kindness ... perhaps the gift of economic survival for a military family, unemployed family, relative or friend in your life.
And while you're out running around and you stop to grab a bite to eat, look around for one of our brothers or sisters in arms, and quietly buy their meal. You don't have to tell them or say a word, just pay quietly and I guarantee you will feel more Christmas in that moment than in ten hours of shopping.
Finally, this year give yourself the greatest gift of all. Gather your family together round a crackling fire, bring out the hot chocolate sing a few Christmas songs, and as a family on your knees thank God that you are together, safe, warm, blessed beyond anything most of the world could ever comprehend. Build memories, faith and love amongst yourselves. None of us knows how many more of these Christmas' we will have.
So ... what will it be this year ... the usual Christmas Hustle or ...
The Greatest Christmas Ever?