The Gift of Christmas Joy
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.
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