We have spent a lot of time this year (and year's past) emphasizing to our kids the importance of giving at Christmas above receiving. We think they hear us and somewhere in the recesses of their minds just behind the 'it's all about me and my presents' section, they get it. But just in case, God gave us a great opportunity to drive the point home yesterday.
The whole family was heading to WalMart (aka: the black hole). Since I am there every single week, we've gotten to know several of the employees. One of those was a young lady working in the deli. Over the course of our visits, we learned that she had a four month old daughter, which gave us an idea for building the relationship. I went through Bella's box of outgrown winter clothes and pulled out some pieces that were in great shape (she never wore some of them because summer came before she got big enough) and put them in a gift bag to give to our deli-counter friend. (yes, we knew her name but are choosing to leave it out of the story.)
We were excited for a tangible example of loving others for our kids. Well, unfortunately, we found out that she know longer works at WalMart. Bummer. We stuck the gift bag in the bottom of our cart and went on with the shopping trip. I was really disappointed. Here we were trying to do the right thing, trying to set an example for the kids, and nothing came of it. I briefly scanned the store wondering if there was anybody we could give the clothes to but quickly wrote it off and moved along. Then God showed up. He's timely that way.
While stocking up for Bella in the baby food aisle, we turned to see a woman with a baby! AMAZING! Yeah, yeah, that's not really the amazing part. Anyway, another friend from church (who just happened to be there) and I made comments about how cute the baby was and asked the usual questions: how old is she, what's her name, etc. And God said "Now, Amie."
I began with "can I ask you a strange question?" I offered the bag of clothes which were just the right size and she gladly accepted them. Then the grandmother looked at me with a strange expression and asked, "You stay in Wake Forest?" Yep. I proceeded to tell her where we live and didn't even get to finish. She knew who we were. "I thought I recognized you. I just knew it was you. We live right around the corner, just a block away from you." TADA-now, that's the amazing part!!
We went from giving a gift to someone we only saw on occasion (still a good thing, but...) to meeting people in our own neighborhood and having the chance to consistently build a relationship with them. How cool is that?
More about the day's events can be found on Tim's Blog (via Faith Baptist's website). Click here.