Christmas, 1975, was difficult for me. I was a rookie missionary in Belgium away from my family for the first time. When I thought about Christmas alone, I wanted to lie down and die, but I didn’t. I made the best of things.
My Christmas experiences, that first year in Belgium, have furnished me with sweet, funny, and ridiculous stories, with which I have entertained people for over forty years.
A couple of weeks before Christmas I received a telephone call from one of our Belgian pastors, who knew of my ministry to children.
“Sister Faye,” he said, “We would like to invite you to our church on Saturday afternoon before Christmas. We have asked a group of Gypsy children to be our guests. Our own children will present a Christmas program, and, afterward, we will give gifts to all the Gypsy kids.”
Of course, I accepted the invitation—I was anxious to go.
When I arrived at the little storefront church, I was amazed at what I saw. The platform was piled high with wonderful gifts—baby dolls and toy trucks, basketballs and roller skates—almost anything a child could desire. There were also great bags of sweets—candies and cookies and other pastry.
The pastor had explained to me that he had gone to merchants and explained the need. He had also shared the needs with patisseries and sweet shops. Everyone had been generous with his donations.
The Gypsy kids came. They came with their Moms and Dads, their Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles and Cousins. They filled every crook and cranny in that little sanctuary.
The church kids presented a great program. Then pastor walked to the platform. He explained very meticulously how this thing was going to work.
He said, in French, “We have a gift and sweets for all the children. There is enough for everyone. So, we will come one row at a time. When row one is finished, then row two will come, and so on. Do you understand?”
“ Oui, oui,” they shouted with one accord.
“D’accord,” said the pastor. “Row one may come.”
At his word, the whole Gypsy congregation, kids, moms and dads, and every other relative rushed the platform nearly mowing down the pastor.
“Non, non! Attendez, attendez,” he cried. “Vous n’avez pas compris.” (You did not understand.) “Go back to your seats.”
Back to their seats they went, and we started all over.
“Now,” said the pastor, “Let’s try again. Row one must come first.”
Again, the whole audience broke and ran for the platform. After several tries, the pastor just gave up. His Gypsy guests helped themselves to the gifts and the sweets, and walked out the door without a “Thank you” or backward glance.
The pastor was bewildered—divested. He had worked so hard. I was truly sorry for him, and I was truly sorry for those beautiful black eyed kids. I think I understood. They were marginalized, unaccepted by society, living in squalor, with hardly enough to keep body and soul together. All of life they had been left out, living on the edge.
Suddenly there was all this beautiful, shiny, new stuff meant for them. So, breaking all the rules, they claimed it. Someone had finally included them.
Most of us have felt left out, unnoticed, unappreciated at one time or another. We ask, “Why not me? Why do the good things always happen to someone else? Why don’t I win the lottery?”
Great News! You have not been left out. You have been personally included in the greatest “give-away” of all time.
“For unto US, you and me, a child is born, unto US, you and me, a Son is given…and His name shall be called WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE.”
This child, who is born to us, is wonderful in every way—in His birth, His teaching, His deeds, His death, and His resurrection. Wonderful to us!
Do you lack wisdom? He is our counselor. We never go wrong when we follow His counsel.
His is our Mighty God—our Hero God—able to do exceedingly more than we can ever imagine.
Being alone as I am, I sometimes feel the need for a protector. This child, who was born to me, has become my Everlasting Father—my absolute, eternal protector. He will never cease to protect, never desert or grow weary.
He is the Prince of Peace. In the middle of this nutty, out of control world, He keeps me in perfect peace.
This Christmas I am seized by the wonder of Christ. I am gripped by the fact that He is mine—that he was born for me. His love, His forgiveness His life, and all that includes, is God’s gift to me. I have not been left out.
Just like those needy Gypsy children, you may claim God’s bright, shiny, wonderful gifts for yourself. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN LEFT OUT!
THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW