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A True Story: Mellissa. Texas 1991

Two students were hostel roommates for the first year at college.

When they returned from their winter break, Andrew was asked what presents he had received for Christmas. He began to tell his friend about the new clothes, the nice books, and all the other items on the list of precious gifts given me by family and friends. The friend seemed somewhat impressed, pleased at my apparent holiday windfall.

"So, what did you get for Christmas?" Andrew asked. Expecting to hear his wonderful list of presents, my roommate instead replied silently, holding up but one small item, an alarm clock that probably cost less than $5 at the thrift shop.

"That’s nice," Andrew answered, thinking that he was sure glad he hadn’t received such a present, seemingly so small and insignificant.

Later, Andrew would tease his friend by pretending to throw that clock into the air and then catch it right before it hit the ground, feigning an attempt to damage his precious clock. His friend never thought this game was funny, however, because his clock meant much more to him than Andrew ever understood.

As the years passed and our four years together at college came to a close, Andrew noticed that while he moved from room to room and roommate to roommate, his friend always had that same inexpensive alarm clock stored closely beside his bed.

You see, Andrew friend’s family back in West Virginia was far from wealthy and the only present his parents could afford to give him for Christmas was that simple, unimpressive clock. What seemed like cheap sale material for some was a family treasure for Andrew’s friend.

You know what? 13 years later, Andrew cannot remember a single present – the clothes, the books - he received for Christmas that year. You know what else? Andrew never forgets his friend’s gift. He may have gotten many presents, but his friend got only one single present from his parents – that which was definitely more precious.

The clock represented the love of his parents for him.