Another Christmas approached with Mike still unable to work.

Once again, the same scenario occurred. The large black garbage bag and open box arrived just days before Christmas. This time, it didn’t thrill me.

By then, the financial stress had taken its toll. An entire year spent struggling, praying for healing and release to go back to work. Opening that garbage bag behind closed doors, signified that we couldn’t give our children the Christmas they once knew.

Here’s the thing.

It wasn’t about the toys. A garbage bag full of the best toys in the world couldn’t heal the brokenness we felt. They couldn’t pack in a silk bag what our family really needed to make it Christmas for us.

We needed to be able to express our love to each of our children with thoughtful gifts. Just one present that said, “I know you. I see what you secretly long for. I know what makes you smile.”

Looking back this week I realized what turned that blessing into a curse.

I never knew what church sent those gifts– but they just kept coming year after year, long after we needed it. Once I tried to tell the guy bringing it, to get us off the list– we’re ok now. I explained we didn’t need it, and asked if he would please take it to someone that does. “It’s ok.” He shrugged. “Keep it.”

He couldn’t have known what that black garbage bag signified to me.

This week, I’ve taken this lesson of the past to heart. Although, in many ways this Christmas will have many of the same trademarks of that painful Christmas so long ago, however, I’ve learned the hard lessons of those years taught.

Circumstances, especially financial, are always temporary. It’s only permanent if we let it be. There will always be lean times and seasons of abundance.  In times such as these, is when we look for new opportunities; they provide a catalyst for uprooting and daring drastic change.

I added another category to my budget, and gained a new resolve to be the blessing that I once prayed for.


Have you ever been hurt by someone’s good intentions? How can we change that? How can we see truly help someone this Christmas? What do you think?


Photo credit Shutterstock,  vicvic13Nuttapong