It all started with a list. Rockwood Church asked if they could do an Angel Tree to bless our children and we said we would be happy with that. Each child asked for a specific gift. Isaac, who loves peanut butter and had just discovered from another child that you could actually buy peanut butter with jelly already in it, couldn't wait to get that on the list.
So on Christmas eve we gathered in our living room, all 40 something of us, and each child received their specially chosen gift. And that's when it happened, an unexpected moment pregnant with the Presence of Jesus. Isaac had actually received 6 jars of the peanut butter and jelly mixture but we had a day several weeks ago when the need to eat was greater than the need to give him ALL six jars....so the family ate PBJ sandwiches and Isaac was none the wiser.
When he opened the three remaining jars on Christmas Eve, you would have thought that we had given him the moon! He was so thrilled! He lifted them high into the air with a look a sheer victory on his face and then ripped through the wrappings to reveal his three jars of peanut butter and jelly! It was such a joy to see him so thrilled with his gift. We had moved on to the opening of the other children's gifts when I sensed him scooting up closer to me on the couch. "This is for you, Mama Bets," he said as he carefully placed one of his treasured jars in my hands. He had already given one of the other jars to Tia Elvia and that left him with one jar. That sweet unselfish gesture brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't contain them as I gently told Isaac that I wanted him to keep his treasure but that his unselfishness had touched me.....deeply. Instead of wanting to hoard more for himself, he wanted to bless others. How could this little eight year old boy, who has suffered so much in his young life already, understand that it is more blessed to give than receive?
The answer, of course, is Jesus. Isaac has experienced Jesus' love and so he can give away to others, knowing that this honors the very One who has given him a new life.
I am so thankful this Christmas for the gift of Isaac and for the gift of every one of these children that God has brought into our Jericho family. They teach me of His grace and His amazing love and His sacrificial giving. They bring me His Presence.