Every year, my grandfather’s Sunday School class raises money to take kids, who wouldn’ t ordinarily recieve any Christmas gifts, to Walmart. These old men and woman (who I love so much) get a list of the poorest children in Elberton – and then these kids go to the First Baptist Church. They eat hotdogs and have a Christmas party, and then they ride over to Walmart together. Jessica and I were studying this year at the farm for finals, and we decided we both needed to skip an hour or two of studying, and go watch this go down.
The kids all get a 100$ to spend, and they start out with a list from their mom of “essentials” they need to buy. Little Jonathon was one of the shyest boys I have ever encountered. Often it was hard to have him decide what thing he wanted to buy. I thought he would want to RUN to the toy aisle, but as we got his “essentials” of his list; socks, shoes, pants and a shirt, he was so grateful for these things too. He picked a blue shirt out (his favorite color) and a pair of jeans and then we headed over to the shoe aisle. I was overwhelmed with such intense joy. I couldn’t help but start crying. I just felt so much of my Father’s heart in Walmart, not only seeing this boy recieve Christmas gifts but also in seeing my grandfather with the biggets smile on his face literally limp after this child. The Lord did come down to earth, and become man for us. But even in this moment, I saw my grandparents flesh out Jesus to these children.
Jessica was so awesome at helping Jonathon pick out his shoes. His favorite pair they didn’t have in his size but he found a blue pair (once again, his favorite color) and tried them on. As he took off his old shoes, his socks were completely brown – maybe the only pair of socks he owned. He just looked up at us and smiled and ran down the aisle trying them out. That shy smile tore me up.
Then we had the toy aisle. The best part. The kids ran up and down the rows of toys. Some of the kids were loud and energetic. Jonathon carefully inspected his choices with his hood up, with his finger placed in his mouth as he made some tough decisions. He had spent thirty dollars on clothes, so he had 70 dollars left. For the next thirty minutes he would put toys in the cart, and then when he found something better, we would show him what he had to take out in order to stay under 100$. He would stay very quiet unles he saw his siblings, and then he would run up to them to show off his purchases. He wouldn’t just show Mackenzie, his sister, the toys either – the transformers, hotwheels and motorcycles, but also his clothes and shoes too. . I guess when you very rarely get new anything, even the little things you greatly appreciate.
I realized the incarnation of Jesus didn’t happen once in a stable in Bethleham, but we are able to be his hands and feet and incarnate his divine love everywhere we go, all the time. That’s really cool. This was my favorite moment of Christmas, by far.