For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the LORD.~Luke 2:11 NKJV
She greeted us at her back door with hugs and warm words of welcome.
I felt as if I had come home. Her ceiling-high Christmas tree blinked a welcome with its multi-colored lights and beautiful ornaments. Our small mission team had arrived in eastern Kentucky after dark, weary from more than six hours on the road.
Miss Dora Ross is a committed Christian lady, who, after her mother’s death, opened her home to mission teams who came to preach, hold Vacation Bible School, repair houses, take food to shut-ins, and provide help in any way they could to the people in her county and beyond. She never turns anyone away who comes to her for any need. She provides food, clothing, and other needed items ranging from blankets to heaters.
As we sat down to a late supper of sandwiches, chips, and iced tea, we planned for the next day, where we were to greet around three hundred children and their parents. Gifts would be provided for every child – toys, clothing, and hygiene items. Fruit baskets had been prepared for each family. Under the tree were the gifts, which had been colorfully wrapped. We had brought additional gifts. And those we brought needed wrapping.
Midnight was approaching as we finished wrapping the gifts. Miss Dora asked about the Santa Claus suit she thought we were bringing. I’m not sure we knew about that, so we showed up empty-handed in that category. We decided to make do with what we could come up with. Miss Dora found a Santa hat, and we crafted a beard and mustache by cutting out some white cardstock and gluing cotton balls to it. I had brought a red jacket, which had a fluffy white border around the bottom of the sleeves, down the front, and around the bottom hem. It also was stretchy, and we found a pillow that would fit under the jacket.
The next morning after an early breakfast, we prepared to greet our guests. Mike was designated to be Santa, so he donned the red hat, cardboard/cotton-ball facial hair, and the red coat over the pillow. The rest of his attire was blue jeans and tennis shoes.
Before we knew it, kids of all ages arrived with their parents in tow. I’ve never seen such excitement as we saw on those beautiful faces that morning. It was the Saturday before Christmas, and Santa Claus was there! Do you think they noticed, or cared, that Santa was wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes? They didn’t! As far as they were concerned, Santa could wear whatever he wanted.
As Santa gave each child their presents, he said to them, “Getting presents is fun, and we all love this part of Christmas, but the real reason we celebrate is that it’s Jesus’ birthday.” Along with a fruit basket, we gave every adult a bookmark. “This is for you to use in your Bible,” Santa told them. More than a few replied that they didn’t own a Bible. Santa then picked up a new Bible from the stack on the table beside him. “You have one now,” he said as he gave it to them. “I encourage you to read it every day.”
For several years after that, I didn’t feel like Christmas was complete unless I served on a mission team to Kentucky. How blessed we were to have had the privilege to minister to those who lived in Miss Dora’s community. We had opportunities to talk with those who brought their children to see Santa Claus, and the word of our testimony was heard by many of them.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony.~Revelation 12:11a NASB
Those years of spending part of my Christmas in the backwoods of Kentucky were life-changing to me. It was a blessing to minister to them, and to witness some of them make life’s most important decision–to accept the gift of salvation Jesus so willingly offers.
Born a baby in Bethlehem, Jesus came to live among us, and to become one of us. He was born to die, so that we may live. His death on the cross paid for our sins, but it’s up to us whether we will receive His precious gift or not. The amazing grace of Jesus is ours for the taking–this gift of eternal life with Him.
The first Christmas my husband and I were married, we bought his grandmother a beautiful bathrobe. She opened the package and exclaimed how pretty it was and told us, “It’s too beautiful to wear every day. I’m going to put it in my chest to save for whenever I must go into the hospital.” As far as I know, she never wore the robe. Probably by the time she became a patient in the hospital, it was out of style. Or, she had forgotten all about it by that time. Grandma had opened the gift from us. However, it was never really hers because she had put it aside.
Jesus didn’t give us the gift of salvation for us to cast aside. He loves us so much and wants a relationship with us, one where He daily speaks to us and spends time with us. He loves us with an everlasting love.
Christmas is the perfect time to accept the perfect gift from a perfect Savior.
Today, will you accept Jesus Christ’s gift of salvation?
Lord Jesus, thank You for dying on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty for every one of my sins. Thank You also, that You rose from the dead, and You are alive and seated at the right hand of Father God. Thank You that You are coming again, and You have prepared a place for me to live eternally with You in heaven. I choose this instant, to accept Your free gift of salvation, and I ask You to come into my life and be my Savior, my Lord, and my soon-coming King.
Copyright 2020: The Best Christmas Gift: Evelyn Mason Wells: All Rights Reserved