Today’s world is different than ever before. Sometimes, it’s all too easy to look around at the high rate of rape and murder, drive-by shootings, school massacres, child and spousal abuse—all the ugliness of mankind—and think there’s no more good left on Earth.
But every now and then, like a welcome ray of light in a pit of darkness, God’s love shines through one or another of His children, and we are reminded that He is still God. He is still in control. And He still has a people who love Him, love His ways and love each other.
I’ve been witness to those special beams of heavenly light shed through an earthly brother or sister more than once in my life, and I consider myself blessed and highly favored of God to have been so blessed.
One such occurrence happened when my children were small. I had four of them, and I believe at the time they were about two, four, six and eight. Yes, my hands were full. And yes, our pockets were empty.
As Christmas loomed ever closer, my heart ached almost unbearably. Hubby had broken his ankle and was off work with very little pay. We’d already faced the fact that Christmas at our house would be slim to non-existent, and we had sat the kids all down and explained the situation. Did they understand? Probably not, but they bore the news with a minimum of frowns and funky faces.
My heart broke a little more every time I heard a Christmas carol that year…or saw a mall Santa with a child on his knee…or caught a glimpse of one of my little ones staring at a Christmas display in someone else’s home, knowing ours wasn’t likely to boast even a tree, much less anything to go under it. We were having a hard enough time just keeping food on the table and shoes on little feet.
One day, just a week or so before Christmas, someone knocked on my door in the
middle of the day. I opened it to find my brother Dale and his wife, Elaine, standing outside, their arms loaded with grocery bags.
In her usual no-nonsense manner, my sister-in-law shoved past me and started unloading that bounty onto the kitchen table. “No tears!” she ordered and headed outside for the next load of groceries.
Her brusque command was wasted breath, of course. I cried the entire time I put away the food they’d brought—and there was a lot of it, including a turkey and the “fixin’s” to prepare a proper Christmas dinner for my family.
With everything put away, Elaine ushered all four of my children into another room to spruce them up. They’d been playing outside all day, and needless to say, they sported plenty of tousled hair and dirty faces.
“What are you doing?” I asked from the doorway.
“We’re taking them with us to town. You stay here and relax. Take a break. We’ll be back before long.”
And they were—this time loaded with candy, gifts, wrapping paper…and a tree.
Elaine shooed the kids outside. My brother, never one to be loud or showy, settled in to watch television while Elaine and I wrapped gifts.
They weren’t elaborate or expensive gifts, but they were plentiful. Puzzles, coloring books, little dolls and action figures, games, even a piece of clothing for each child. Dale and Elaine didn’t forget the children’s need to give, either—each child had been allowed to pick out a small present for Mom and Dad.
It was by far the most memorable Christmas ever, for me—based on nothing more than the kindness of a man and woman who cared about others. I’ve watched that same couple do pretty much the same thing at Christmas time for other families throughout the years, and I’ve seen God bless their generosity. But most of all, I love thinking about that special Christmas because it always reminds me that kindness, brotherly love, and giving hearts remain very much a part of humanity—and a part of my family. I am blessed indeed!
Our family will never forget the year we were visited by our very own Christmas angels.
Delia Latham is a born-and-bred California gal, living now in East Texas with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend—but above all, she treasures her role as princess daughter to the King of Kings.
At First Sight Dedication: In memory of my late uncle, Dearl Wayne Dawson, my own “Parson,” whose entire life was a picture of true discipleship, unwavering dedication, godly living…and a beautiful, sweet, humble spirit that portrayed God’s love with every breath he drew. If I know any one thing in this life with absolute certainty, it is that Pastor Dearl Dawson fought the fight and kept the faith.
Can’t wait to see you again, Parson…you always were and always will be a hero to me!
At First Sight
Reagan Massey has gone through a great deal of trouble to make her cousin irresistible to the visiting single minister but things get a little sticky when Reagan falls in love with Cord Phillips herself.
Cord doesn’t believe in marital bliss after seeing the mockery his parents made of their vows. He’s promised himself he’ll live as the Apostle Paul lived, dedicating himself solely to God. When his heart turns traitor, Cord has to completely rethink his position on love.
Things around Riverbend House of Worship take on some humorous, heart-touching, soul-stirring twists and turns, with Reagan and Cord so busy getting in God’s way that they can’t see the path He has laid out for them to travel—together.