The Best Gift!
Blog – 12-22-17
I sang at the Jackson Recovery Center women and children’s Christmas party today. It’s an event put on by their Auxiliary, and it’s a special afternoon for kids who are going through a tough time as their parents battle addiction. Santa shows up and gives each of the children a present, they have cookies and hot chocolate, and it’s an opportunity to make them feel special and loved.
I hate to admit this, but I have to be honest, my heart wasn’t really in it when I first arrived. I was feeling a bit crammed and overwhelmed, as I’m sure many of you are as we count down to Christmas. I was thinking to myself, maybe I should have said no. Why did I commit to one more thing in my crazy busy schedule.
I set up my equipment, went over the songs quickly, and tried to quiet my heart and be present in the moment. Something that’s hard to do in the hustle and bustle we all get tied up in. I felt the Holy Spirit quiet my heart as I took time to center myself and reflect.
As the women and children started arriving, I noticed a woman sitting right beside where I would be singing. She had a sad look in her eyes, really sad, and I noticed there were no children sitting by her.
I got up and sang my songs, and when I was finished, this woman started opening up to me. She said she was having a really hard time today because her son had been taken away from her. He was in foster care, and she was hoping to get him back in a week or so. The tears flowed as she told me her story. It was heartbreaking as I saw an ocean of sorrow in her eyes.
I encouraged her as best I could to keep working the program, to work hard to stay clean. I assured her that she would get her child back, God would make a way. Then I timidly wished her a Merry Christmas as I packed up and left because I knew in my heart her Christmas wasn’t going to be very merry.
When I was driving home, it hit me like a freight train that the best gift she could ever giver her child is to stay sober. That’s the gift every single one of those sweet children in that room today needed. Toys will make them happy for a moment, but they need their parents to be clean. To work the program. To make the changes it takes to turn their lives around and break free from their addictions.
Easier said than done.
It reminded me that God showed us on that very first Christmas what the best gift we could ever give is…love. That’s what Jesus was, plain and simply, love.
Love that says, I’m willing to die for you, even when you mess up. Love that says, I’m willing to forgive you, even when you fail over and over again. Love that says, I’m willing to stay sober for you, no matter how hard it gets. Love that says, I’m willing to be totally present for you, no matter how busy my schedule is.
As I write this, I feel very humbled and very grateful I said yes to the “inconvenience” today. I’m thankful that God used a hurting, broken woman to remind me that the best gift I can give my children, my family, my friends, the world, is the exact gift Jesus gave us on that first Christmas…love.
I ask that you join me in praying for the woman I met today and all the women at the treatment center. Please pray recovery takes hold in their lives and they enter the New Year truly changed. Their children deserve it and need it.
I pray you have a wonderful holiday filled with love and laughter. And my greatest wish is that you feel the love of God as you reflect on the birth of our Savior.
May you have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate the best gift of all…Jesus!
Hugs and love,