One Moment In Between the Have-To’s and the Gotta’s

Many of our preparations for Christmas this year were waylaid until the final moments. Some things got put off for unavoidable reasons, some because of my own inner struggle about how Christmas should look for our family this year, and some purely because my husband and I are procrastinators(that’s with a capitol P).

Christmas Eve arrived and this mental list presented itself when I awoke:

  • Finish painting ornaments(they had to be dry and sealed and wrapped by 2pm).
  • Make Christmas Dinner ahead of time(ahem, that’s make crepes, the insides, the sauce, etc).
  • Finish(begin) handmade presents for the children.
  • Wrap all of the presents.
  • Help the boy make presents for his sisters.
  • Spend time writing letters to Jesus as a family.
  • Get to Grandma’s on time.
  • Open a Christmas Eve present.
  • I should add in -feed all of the children and take care of their needs, and clean the house!

It was a day filled with have-to’s and gotta’s, when my heart longed for peace and chance to quietly think about the gift I was receiving from the Lord the next day.

By 9:30pm, we still had kids up, still checking off the mental list.  Letters to Jesus had already been pushed to the next day and opening our Christmas Eve gift, a family tradition, had slid right over to the “gotta” list so that we could get the kids to bed and get on with the projects.

This tradition came right out of my own childhood and the kids have looked forward to opening new slippers and pajamas each year.  This time they didn’t need either of those and we had warned them earlier in the week that the gifts were going to be a bit different.  “You’re going to get a gift that you can give away.”  Puzzlement, a little grumpiness.

Finally we gathered around the tree that night and their little brother handed out thin tissue wrapped packages I’d hidden in the tree.  They opened them and this is what they saw.

eve“What is it?”

“Ten dollars for what?”

“Ten dollars for you to choose something from this catalog to help people struggling in Asia, ” Mr. Darcy replied.

We opened the Gospel for Asia catalog and looked at the choices.


“We can send Bibles.”

“Is anyone getting a mosquito net?”

“What’s malaria Daddy?”

“We could get a camel!” That comment was from Mr. Darcy, who is a little camel happy.

“I told him he can’t keep for himself,” I warned the kids.

Everyone took about 15 minutes to decide and they smiled the entire time.

And for the forty dollars we didn’t spend getting a second set of pajamas, we purchased:

3 Bibles
16 New Testaments
1 Blanket
1 Mosquito Net
1 child sent to VBS
800 Gospel Tracks

The children were floored that we could do all of that with the money usually spent of Christmas Eve gifts.  Over and over again, “I can’t believe it, ”  and then they would read the list out loud again.

“That’s 822 people who are going to get something because we did this.”

“That’s right and we can pray for each of the people who are going to receive something.”

It was a “have to” task on my list that turned into my favorite moment of our Christmas.

1 comment

1 Comment so far

  1. Amy January 4th, 2011 6:55 pm

    Wow! That’s pretty cool. What a great illustration for your kids on how one little sacrifice on our part can make a huge difference. That’s a true gift.

Leave a reply