This was one of those God-timed emails. It arrived at just the right moment for several of us at the church office. The email was sent from one our middle school teachers. Her name is Jasa. Several days ago, the talk among students in her class turned to things they wanted for Christmas. Jasa tells the rest of the story this way:

One of my students said, "Well, I am getting one free thing that I need and one free thing that I want."

Another student asked, "What are you talking about?"

Then the student said, "There is this church in town that gives free stuff to families that don't have money — you get to put down one thing you need and another thing that you want."

Then you could see it hit the faces of the other 8th graders … this student does not live in the same situation that most of them do ... to get 2 things at Christmas is a really big deal for him.

Finally one student said, "That sounds like a pretty cool church!"

I never said anything — but I sit here at my desk smiling and thanking God that I am apart of "that cool church"!

Each year we do what we call "The Giving Tree." You probably know the routine. Folks take paper ornaments from a tree — in our case, from two trees — with gifts needed by unnamed people. Our folks buy and wrap their gifts, then bring them back with the ornaments so that they can be shared with the folks who need them. Each ornament has a clothing item and a fun item so each recipient gets a gift they "need" and a gift they "want." We have been blessed to help 217 families and 434 individuals this year.

That, however, is not the point. The point is that when we read the email from Jasa, there wasn't a dry eye in the office. Our administrative staff works very hard to make "The Giving Tree" work. Many of our members delight in helping in this way. So often, we don't know exactly the impact these gifts have on others. So to hear a story about how such a simple thing can make a big difference in the life of a kid who may have nothing ... well, it reminds us of what Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

It reminds us of what Jesus said!
With all the commercialization and busyness of the season, let's not forget the real truth: our richest blessings come from giving ... especially when given to bless others and to share the good news of Jesus and his transforming grace.

What are some gifts you can remember giving that have blessed you because of the reaction of those who received it?

Come on, go ahead and share your story, all of our hearts need to be warmed and reminded about the real heart of the season!

You can share your story on my blog: