Ruthie and I were sitting in a restaurant in South Carolina the day before Thanksgiving. Our food was a long time in coming so I got interested in the conversation going on in the family sitting at the table next to ours. There was Grandma, a teenager, and two or three others.
I tuned in to the conversation when I heard Grandma ask the teen what he wanted for Christmas. The lad didn’t have to think long before he began his list. “Uhh,” he mused. “I want a pony, some ice cream, a new video game, football cleats, a new skate board…” He paused, hoping he hadn’t stopped talking too soon. Then he concluded with this gem, “Well, Grandma, let me just text you my list.”
It made me wish we had started a Christmas tradition where the youngster sits on Santa’s lap and Santa says to the child, “And what are you planning to give away this Christmas?”
But as we drove away we found ourselves acknowledging that it’s not just teens and other kids who get their values twisted. Big kids do, too. I’m interested by how many commercials there are on evening TV where the husband buys a new car for his wife or the wife has a new Lexus parked in the driveway with a bow on top. I know, transportation is essential, but the untold story is whether they sat down together first and processed the question, “Honey, before we get something for ourselves, what can we do for someone else? Who needs help that we can provide? Who can we bless this year? What example can we set for the children?”
It’s a nice custom to have a big holiday dinner for the church. But here’s a new take on that. A Methodist church in Hilton Head, SC, has been leading the way for 21 years. One family in the church writes a check for the food, a local restaurant, Hudson’s, provides the facility and the kitchen staff, church members become the servers. Anyone is welcome and you pay as you are able. But since all of the expenses of the meal are covered, all the money goes to Africa to dig wells for villages where there is no water available. The day we were there they fed 1,600 people. It’s not possible to calculate how many were blessed…for years to come…with fresh water. And that doesn’t even include the givers.
By Don Jacobsen