I've been overcome the last few weeks with just how incredibly lucky I am. I never waste a single moment telling my husband and my children, "I love you." I never say no to an opportunity to lay on the bed and watch TV for a few minutes with Jake before school and I almost always let Brooklyn stay up "5 more minutes" if it means snuggling with her on the couch. I find myself staring at the kids in awe at just how beautiful and healthy they are. I am so incredibly lucky.
I am also lucky that I have been given the opportunity to give back. God not only gave Chad and I the gift of music, but also the gift of ministry. Every Sunday night, we are blessed to be able to share God's word and his news through music at church. And, every December, the band gets the opportunity to bring music to the homeless community at the local night shelter.
This Monday, we loaded the band up and headed over there to sing some original songs, some praise and worship songs, and of course, some Christmas carols. I am not gonna lie....we had a rough start. Steve was unavailable to come and play drums so we decided to go "acoustic." Unfortunately, acoustic was still too loud and we had to make a quick last minute run to the church for a microphone that could plug into Chad's guitar amp. Chad wasn't feeling well all afternoon and once he started to sing in practice, realized that, to keep himself standing, he probably shouldn't sing too much. So, it really ended up being Emily and I sharing one mic (thank you, Altoids!) hitting the songs in our "girl repertoire."
We started a sound check, singing "Open the Eyes of My Heart." There was one man there standing in line to enter & check in who said "Oh, I love that song! Will you sing that again?" Well, we really don't make it a practice to repeat the same song twice in a row, so we told him we would play it again at the end. After about 15 minutes, he asked again, saying "I really need this for my heart today." That caught my attention and I told Chad that we needed to do this for him. We played for about 30 minutes more when they started clearing the room out. I told Chad, "we really should do that song again for him." So, as he was leaving, we called to him and said, "here you go!"
Well, you would have thought that we gave him a million dollars. He walked over, sat down in a chair right in front of us, closed his eyes, and with tears streaming down his face and hands lifted, sang with us.
It was all I could do to make it through the song.
To me, that was Christmas. Not only giving a gift to someone- but giving a gift that they truly needed. And for a man that probably needs a heck of a lot, it was truly humbling to realize that our song was what he needed that day.
The story doesn't end there. It turns out that this man also gave a dollar (maybe his only dollar?) to baby Silas, who was there with us. Tucked it right into his back pocket "because he was beautiful." And there was the other man who handed Brandon a Christmas card for us. It was a card he had received from a church (maybe the only card he received this year?). But, he re-wrote it to us as a thank you card for coming and sharing our gifts. Two men who have so little to give, yet giving all they had. It's like the woman in the Bible who gave her last coins in the temple. True God moments everywhere that night and I was so thankful, once again, to experience it this week.
I am truly blessed and I really do have all I need, but I can't say I am always completely satisfied with my wardrobe, my home decor, or the balance in my bank account. But I thank God again for the reminders this week that (1) I am richly blessed, and (2) of course, it's always better to give than to receive.
Especially when it's the perfect gift.