” 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:26-34 (NLT)
In 1979 we transferred back to the states from Japan. Our first born was three months old when we flew home from Tokyo. We stayed in Oil City, PA with family for a month before heading to Downeast Maine for our next duty station.
It was an expensive move for us, and although the Navy paid for much of it, there were still many things that we had to buy to get settled back into the states. This made for a few months of lean times. As we approached December I started to pray for $50 so we could give our daughter her first Christmas. I also prayed for some cute little shoes for her for church and a winter coat for her. She had a snowsuit, which would have worked, but, there was a part of me that wanted a special coat for her.
About the second week of December I received a card for me from my Dad. He never sent me a card, except on my birthday and inside the card was $50. I was thrilled! I knew it was an answer to my prayer.
Unbeknownst to me, Dale also had been praying for $50 for car repairs. Needless to say, we had a discussion on the best use of the $50. We each were holding our ground. A couple of nights after I received my card, our small group leaders stopped by. They had found some cute shoes and immediately thought of our daughter, and a good friend of theirs used to send along hand me downs to our baby. In the hand me downs was a beautiful coat and matching bonnet. All wool and lined. It was perfect!
Since they were our small group leaders, Dale asked about the money from my Dad, and where it should go. Our friend looked at him and said, “Since it’s from her Dad, it’s the answer to her prayer.” Dale accepted the answer and inside I was doing a happy dance.
The following day Dale received a card in the mail, addressed to him and from his Dad. Inside the card was $50. The answer to his prayer.
We learned a valuable lesson that year. First of all, God hears our prayers. Secondly, He knows the desire of our hearts. Third, He provides in many ways.
I often think of those little mary jane shoes and that beautiful coat and bonnet. Our Christmas was perfect for our little one’s first Christmas and for us as new parents.
During each Christmas since that time, I think back to that time in Maine. We didn’t have a whole lot, but, we had each other. Christmas, after all, is not about the gifts given, or the amount of gifts received. Christmas comes even when there are no presents under a tree. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. He gives gifts that are not visible or felt at times, but, they exist anyhow.
“17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17 (NLT)