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"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full", John 15:11.
  • One of my most memorable Christmases happened when I was about 10 years old.

    No, I didn't receive a Lionel train, a new bicycle, an ipod, or a video game; it was something entirely unexpected and refreshingly different.

    We kids were up by our typical Christmas morning 3:30 - 4:00 AM. We woke our parents, waited until they gave us the all-clear, and ran to the living room to find what Santa had left us. Everyone was happy. Everyone unwrapped their presents, and my brother, sister, and I began to play while our parents went back to bed.

    Later that morning we had breakfast and my mother asked each of us kids to pick out a few of our older but still usable toys and bring them into the living room. We spent the next few minutes going through our rooms collecting the toys and obediently lay them at our mother's feet.

    All of us were wondering what she was up to. When we were finished she told us. She told us about a family that didn't have any toys that year. She asked us to look over at our new toys and to then to look back at our old toys. Next, she asked us if we would give the old toys to some boys and girls that didn't have any toys to play with. After a bit of negotiating about which toys to give and which to keep, we agreed.

    It was a cold December 25 when we arrived at the poor family's house. My dad and mom went to the door, delivered a sack of groceries and Christmas treats while we waited in the warm car. Watching intently, we saw several children filing out of the ramshackled house. Spontaneously, we stepped out of the car and my brother, sister, and I gave our old toys to the boys and girls who had none.

    As I remember, very few words were exchanged. I guess it was because we didn't really know what to say. As we handed each child a football, baseball glove, toy car, or a baby doll, we were greeted with sheepish grins. Somehow we knew that we had just done something that was good and that was right.

    The ride home was quite. Our parents allowed the experience to sink in...and it did. We were never quiet the same again after that experience. The experience itself taught us far more than our parents could have with platitudes and moral teachings. We had learned to share, we had learned how blessed we were, we had learned one of the major truths taught by the Spirit of God that Christmas: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

    Have a Merry Christmas!

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