My wife recently proposed a great idea for present exchanges at Christmas between us. Instead of wrapping another Wal-Mart item that is needed around the house and gifting it to each other, we would instead trade the gift of service.
We would agree to an amount and then both of us would provide to the other on Christmas morning a card which outlines who we each blessed with the funds. The idea truly incapsulates the gift which God gave us all when as John writes "The Word became flesh".
Since we began this tradition in December of this year, I was feeling the pressure of whom to bless and how. However, after only a moment of prayer the Lord made it very clear whom I should bless. As a matter of fact, I had known for some time that I was being called to assist Darrell.
To be honest, before my wife brouht up this new way to exchange gifts, I did not even know Darrell's name. You see Darrell was a young man who came into the coffee shop where my son and I did schooling almost every day during the week. He sat in the back booth wearing the same shirt and sweat pants, carrying a backpack and an old every worn basketball.
I grew up playing three on three pick up basketball in the poorest neighborhood in town. Before I could drive into the area, my mother would drop me off and pray for my safe return as the games could get physical and tempers might flair. It is on these courts that I became a better player than all my high school peers.
What it also gave me was a keen insight into identifying a true baller. I could tell from the first time I saw Darrell that no matter his life sitiation, he was wa baller. You could see it in his shoes, his gait and the way he treasured the basketball he was carrying.
I had watched as some of the local older men had tried to have conversations with him and how he kindly listened to them but seemed to be suffering their interventions into his life. They did not seem to know how to connect with him. I know these men and their intentions of sharing the Gospel are pure and honest. However, their timing and delivery appeared to me to be forced.
It was then that it dawned on me as to what I needed to do. Darrell was to be my gift to Cynthia this Christmas. Per the rules the gift had to be given anonymously. So, my son and I went to Acadamy and purchased a new basketball along with some sweat bands. I took the time to write on the basketball a scripture citation I saw often as a kids and helped bring me to Christ. "John 3:16".
We then took the items to the staff at the coffee shop and asked them to deliver the items to Darrell.
It was when we dropped off the items that we learned his name. Two days later, while I was at the coffee shop, the owner came over to our table and asked me if I had seen Darrell with his new basketball. I told her I had not but that I was glad he was using it.
She then shared with me the incredible story of how it was delivered. Several of the workers at this coffee shop are recovering drug addicts. They had asked to deliver the basketball to Darrell and after presenting the gift he broke down in tears. This in turn led the young ladies to share with him how the Lord had worked in their lives.
The owner said this was the most amazing Christmas gift she had ever witnessed and I was glad that the Lord had turned a very simple gesture into a mogical moment touching the lives of many different people.
We serve an amazing God and it is at this time of year that I pray everyone is able to share in the miracle that is Christmas. For God so loved the world, he gave his only son and he whomsoever should believe in Him shall have eternal life.