I love Christmas time. All the decorations, the lights, the fragrances and festive sounds. I love the excitement in the air. I love the feasts and festivals. I love to give and receive gifts. I can’t help but think that one of the regrets of life will be that we did not give more, that we did not retain the generous spirit of Christmas throughout the year.
One memory of giving that I’m sure I will carry with me beyond the grave happened at Christmas in 1986. I had no money but Christmas was coming and Lois’ love language is gifts. I knew I had to do something.
One afternoon I visited a downtown furniture store in Jackson, Michigan. For the first six years or so of our marriage I had been buying Lois Precious Moments figurines. She loved them but did not really have a good secure place to display them. I found a beautiful curio cabinet with glass shelves and beveled glass doors. It was much more than I could afford but I decided to buy it and make payments on it for her. Of course it was my secret. No one knew but me and the neighbor family. I made a deal with them that they would take delivery of the cabinet on Christmas Eve day and store the curio in their garage until I came to get it.
On Christmas Eve day I was at church sitting at my desk. Lois called.
“Oh, Ken, you are not going to believe what I am looking at.”
“What is it, honey?”
“The neighbors are getting new furniture.”
“Really, what is it?”
“Oh, it’s so frustrating. I can’t tell what it is from here,” she said.
“Let me know if you get a look at it.”
“Oh, she’s so lucky to get new furniture.”
We ended the conversation. I hung up the phone with a big smile on my face. This would be fun.
Before dawn on Christmas morning, my brother-in-law and I stole over to the neighbor’s garage and carried the cabinet over to our house. We set it up beside the tree in the room lit only by the lights on the tree and turned on the little light inside.
Lois was surprised. It was fun to tell her that the furniture delivered to the neighbor’s garage was my Christmas gift to her.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to surprise someone in a pleasant way. It may just require some thoughtfulness. Christmas is a wonderful time for surprises and for secrets. It is fun to wait until Christmas to let someone know what you have done for them, but what is even more wonderful at Christmastime is to take advantage of Christmas as an opportunity to do good works in secret as the Lord Jesus taught his followers to do in the Sermon on the Mount.
Followers of Jesus are into doing good works in secret. If you have read the history of the Santa Clause legend, you know it was inspired by a man who secretly did good works for the glory of God.