The Christmas Gift My Boys Never Forget

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“I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.” Psalm 40: 12

Driving through the maze of crowds, and bumper to bumper traffic during the Christmas holidays was a true test of my mama patience. I had an agenda and evidently the world did not know what it was because everything was slow on this particular day.

My boy’s chatter, loud noises and vying for attention was particularly irritating when I was stuck in a traffic jam with time ticking away. 

 “Mama, he hit me.”

“No I didn’t, I just tapped him.”

“You did not, you hit me!”

Finally, we got off the freeway, made it to the main intersection of the mall I was seeking, when Joel piped up, “Mama, look at the poor man with one leg and one crutch. He has a sign that says ‘I’m hungry!’. Don’t you think since it is Christmas, we should stop and get him something to eat?”

It just happened I was reading the boys Psalm 40: 12 (“I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy”),  just the day before. We had talked about the need to have compassion on those less fortunate, the poor, those who were sick, the downcast.

Nathan shouted out, “He is one of the poor and needy ones, mama, don’t you think?!”

The Lord gently put his finger on my heart and said, “Let go of your expectations, now! This is a moment to impress compassion on your boys’ hearts because this is a moment they are open to the Spirit and what they have been memorizing with you.”

Taking a deep breath, I slowed down the car and said, “Boys, I know a fast food burger place near here. Why don’t you roll down the window and ask the man what he likes best—a chicken sandwich or a hamburger.”

The two boys almost crawled out the window yelling at the top of their lungs, “Hey, mister, do you like hamburgers or chicken sandwiches best?”

Hamburger and coffee it was. So we drove to McDonalds and I supersized a cheeseburger, French fries and coffee order.

When we drove up, the little boy faces filled with pride, “Merry Christmas, mister, we thought you might want this for lunch.” They took out each item from the bag and handed it to the crippled, gaunt man.

When they were finished, the weather worn man practically leaned into the car and shook the boy’s hands fiercely.

“My name is John. What are your names?” the man asked in a gruff voice.

‘”I’m Nathan.”

“I’m Joel.”

A smile from someplace deep in the man’s memory slowly crossed the lines of his face.

“God bless you, boys. I have been here all day and no one has stopped. But because of you, today I will not be hungry! I will thank God for you tonight when I find a place to sleep.”

Suddenly as we drove away, silence fell upon my boys, as they pondered what had just happened. Deep little boy ponderings crossed their eyebrows.

Each night for over two weeks, the boys fervently prayed for “John with the one leg,” to know Jesus and to find a home before we went to bed at night.

As Christmas came to a close and we were putting up the tree and cleaning up the house, Joel looked over at me and said, “Mama, you know what the best present to me was this year? It was when John with the one leg smiled at us and thanked us for his meal. It made me feel big and good inside. I think that was the present that will stay with me all year.”

“Me, too, Mama!”

And then I knew that taking one moment to show my boys a little of heaven was the best gift I could give, and it also gave back to my mama heart, as I realized that my little boys had a deep longing to do something great in their worlds, but that it is the wisdom of a mama that draws it out.

Blessings to you,

Sally

Sally Clarkson

For over two decades Sally has championed Christian motherhood in North America and in many foreign countries. She trains and disciples mothers in ministry, and leads a local Bible study that draws up to eighty women into her home each month. She loves discipleship.