I know two things: First, that I am blessed and I could never deserve how God has blessed me. Second, I know that there are far too many this Christmas season who are struggling to just make do.
We are reminded of this daily when we stop a busy intersection and see the man or woman with the crudely crafted sign asking for money. Some are fathers who are broke, some are single moms. And, unfortunately, some are professional beggars who can make a good living by deceiving the gracious people who give. How can we tell them apart? Well, if they have a "City Permit" hanging around their necks, chances are they do this for a living. I will never give to these people.
However, the others, the ones who are truly struggling, need help.
So, I spent Christmas Eve morning driving around the Winston-Salem area looking for the truly needy. I found 14 different people, none of which had a city permit.
One was an out-of-work father, wanting to buy a small gift for his kids. One was a mother, one was a widow, and the list goes on. I cannot imagine the humility it takes to stand on a street corner for all to see and beg for money. Cannot imagine.
So, I gave each person a fresh $100 bill. I know, that's a lot, but I had no one this year to give Christmas presents to, so I chose to give to these 14 people.
The response from them all ran the gamut. The father said he couldn't take it, it was "too much." I forced it on him. One of the mothers started crying, uncontrollably, others gave me a blank stare as it took a moment for them to process the gift. One wanted to hug me.
Were any of these professional cons? Maybe, but I doubt it based on their responses.
So, here is what I learned with my experiment:
1. I felt better after giving these cash gifts to people I had never met, than when I have given gifts at the standard family gathering to family members I don't even like and who will most likely just re-gift them anyway.
2. I felt like I was able to give just a little bit back. Not much, but something anyway.
3. This experiment has shown me that I need to stop feeling sorry for myself this Season because Becky is gone. These people are still here, and needed help and except for the Grace of God, there go I.
You might try this experiment in your own life. You don't have to give $100. It can be a $5 or even a dollar. I guarantee you, you will feel better about your situation, whatever it may be.
Merry Christmas to all!