Monday, November 29, 2010

The Christmas Jar

Recently, we were driving down the road, and we passed a casino. Emily read the sign and asked me to explain a casino. She wondered why we didn't go to them and she wondered why there were so many cars there. I explained a casino to her. Her response?

Wouldn't it be amazing, Mom, if people took all that change and filled Christmas jars instead? Any of us convicted in the Lord's command to care for widows and orphans, any of us seeking to do His will here on earth, any of us who truly want to serve Him would agree with Emily's innocent, yet remarkably insightful suggestion to take all that change and serve with it.

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10

Two years ago, our family began a new tradition. In the days leading up to Christmas, we place a jar on the kitchen counter. Every lick of spare change gets dropped into our jar and we commit to pray for the family God wants to have this extra bit of encouragement. It is a tangible, do-able way for our family to bless another family at the most joyful time of the year.

Last year, God literally showed us a miracle in our Christmas jar.

We had visited the city for the day. Our train was not scheduled to leave for some time, so we sat on a bench at the top of the steps leading to our track. Hannah quickly fell asleep, leaving Rob, Emily and myself to a rather interesting conversation. As we sat chatting, Emily asked who would receive our jar. I had a specific family in mind and felt convicted that they were to receive the gift. I had absolutely no idea if they "needed" the jar, but during my quiet moments with God, as I prayed, I sensed an urging to bless this family specifically. As we chatted about our prayers and who God had revealed to receive the jar, I watched, stunned as the very family God had laid on my heart came up the steps and walked past us in the station. There was no mistaking our confirmation to bless them. You see, they were not there to take in the sights and sounds of Christmas, they were there because they had no other way to get to the city to visit a family member who had just had a very serious surgery.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 John 5:14

Hannah napped on Daddy while we chatted on the bench

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands." 2John 1:6

It is always a humbling experience when the Lord shows us unequivocally His will and leaves us to be obedient. Our lack of understanding, especially at these times, opens our minds and our hearts to the true meaning of "faith". In our humbled state, our family returned home, joyful and hearts filled to bursting at the promise of living out His command and sharing His bounty readily.

Late, late, late Christmas Eve, we pulled up to their home and my kind husband, shimmied up the ice laden drive to leave the jar, with just a bow and warm wishes for God to bless them beyond measure.

We don't share our experience for any sort of accolade; this was not our idea. Somewhere along the line, this beautiful ministry was shared with us and we answered the call. Truly, this is God's plan...We share it now with you, that others might do the same, pay it forward, extend the body of Christ past our own doorways and driveways.

Go ahead, run out to the recycling bin...I am sure there must be a jar in there somewhere! :)

Blessings to you as you enter the season of Christmas. Be in prayer this advent that you might see the ways God will use you. Just as we find Him in our daily lives, He desires greatly a relationship with us, that we might know Him more intimately.



Terry said...

I would never have thought about your daughter's idea when she discovered casinos. Your Christmas jar idea is great. Thank you for sharing it.

Kelly Combs said...

What a very special idea! While we don't have casinos in Virginia, (we have laws against them!), I love the idea of the change jar to bless another family.

Thanks, Heather!


What a precious post of Who God Is and what HE can do - even in and through the eyes and mouth of a young child!

How thankful I am for your testimony of the family [that God put on your heart] arriving there - coming up the steps. God does confirm to us what He shows us and whispers to us - because He longs to show us His glory!

Praise God for this post! May it be spread in our hearts to know Him deeply!

Choosing JOY, Stephanie

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

That is a great idea and what a fabulous way to teach our children and grandchildren about the true meaning of Christmas. It's not about us at all. It's about Jesus and about helping others.

THanks for this great post!