Do you have a favorite Christmas? You know, the year where everything just seemed right in the world and the Red Ryder BB Gun you wanted was under the tree? Okay, maybe it was Mystery Date or a Cabbage Patch Doll or an American Girl Doll.
There is one special Christmas that I reflect on every year. I’m not sure how old I was – maybe eight or nine. My dad had recently moved the five kids left at home to Barton County, Florida infamous for being the poorest county in Florida. We fit right in.
My dad, a small hump-backed man, continued to raise us on the monthly social security disability checks that arrived in the mail each month.
As Christmas approached, a young couple contacted the elementary school we attended and asked if there was a needy family they could bless for Christmas. Our family was chosen and Jack Berry contacted my dad and asked for the honor of providing our Christmas presents that year. My dad accepted with one condition. The Berrys had to deliver the presents themselves.
Mr. Berry balked at this. He wanted the gifts to be anonymous, but my dad insisted. He wanted us children to thank Mr. and Mrs. Berry in person. Dad wanted us to learn about being generous.
I remember when Mr. and Mrs. Berry arrived with armfuls of packages. We took turns opening our gifts, as is our family tradition, and thanked them for each treasure. I received a new nightgown, a rare gift being the youngest girl with a dresser holding only hand-me-downs. The most exciting gift was the Atari. Donkey Kong. Oh, the joys of technology.
As we kids sat around the tree admiring each other’s gifts, my dad glanced over and discovered Mrs. Berry sitting quietly on the couch with silent tears streaming down her face. He went over to her and asked her what was wrong.
Frankly, she said, she didn’t understand why God would give so many children to a crippled, little man with no means to support them, but no children to a young, healthy couple with so much to give.
She meant no harm by her statement and my dad was keenly aware of the pain in her heart. What happened next is most clear in my memory.
My daddy knelt on the floor in front of Mrs. Berry and took her hand in his and prayed for her. He thanked God for her generous spirit and asked God to give her the baby she so deeply desired.
When he finished, there was an awkward silence. Someone brought Mrs. Berry some toilet paper so she could blow her nose and the young, childless couple went home.
As months went by, I didn’t think about Mr. and Mrs. Berry. I enjoyed my warm pajamas and fought with my siblings for time on the Atari. The school year ended; summer came and went.
One day, my dad told me to get ready because we were going to the flower store. I had never been to the flower store, so I ran a brush through my stringy, long hair and considered myself ready to go.
Dad and I stopped at the florist and he purchased yellow roses. I got to hold them in the truck and they smelled wonderful. Then we drove through Winter Haven into a neighborhood I had never seen before. The homes were large with manicured yards. That is when my daddy told me we were going to visit Mr. and Mrs. Berry.
God is still in the business of miracles. He can bring life to the barren. He can restore the marriage. He can destroy the cancer. He can provide the job. He can fill the void of a lonely heart. He can forgive. He can love the unlovable.
The greatest miracle of all is Jesus. God sent his only Son from heaven to earth to die for you and for me. Jesus rose and is alive today. God loves you and wants to do a miracle in your life. Don’t be afraid to get on your knees and ask God for the impossible. He is still in the business of miracles.