The Gift of Christmas Joy


Sometimes we receive the gift of Christmas joy when we least expect it.

I was a stranger and you welcomed me ...sick and you visited me ....” —Matthew 25:35–36 (esv)

I hurried home from running errands, dropped my shopping bags, and checked my phone messages. “Hi, you don’t know me, but I read Daily Guideposts. I need a huge favor, hon. Call me please, and I’ll explain.”

Her voice sounded friendly... but a huge favor? I still had to bake pecan pies, wrap presents, and write a blog post for a ministry site. Sighing, I dialed her number.

She lived in another state and asked me to visit a friend of hers—a ninety-five-year-old woman in a home not far from me. Hospice had been called in. “My friend’s a retired marine. She never married . . . such a sweetheart. Wish I could be there. Please wish her a merry Christmas for me, if it suits you to go.”

It didn’t suit me at all.

Jotting down the address, I promised to visit, but explained it probably wouldn’t be today or tomorrow. Graciously, she thanked me. I turned on my computer to sift through the facts for the blog, but all I could think about was the phone call. Lord, here’s a chance to care about someone and I’m too busy writing about ministry.

I called the home, and the caretaker said to come on over.

The dear woman smiled from her worn recliner—short gray hair, pale-blue eyes, and so tiny. “Hi,” she said. “Come in.” Stepping inside her warm, cozy room, I bent beside her. She reached for my hand and gave a strong squeeze. “Merry Christmas,” she said softly.

As she welcomed me, a stranger, I blinked back tears. I hadn’t brought Christmas to her. Just the opposite. Kneeling in that small, quiet room, the gift of Christmas joy was given to me.

Lord, blessings follow obedience. You continually surprise me. —Julie Garmon
Digging Deeper: Lk 2:9–12; 1 Pt 1:8

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