Summary: During the Christmas season, many of our "hardships" are magnified, and it is difficult to experience "Christmas joy." But what we celebrate at Christmas is the Son of God who came among us and made for us a "high-way" that cuts through the struggles and

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There is something that has been bothering me all week, and I want to share it with you this morning. I have to make a confession. On Monday of this week, as I was sitting in my office working on the Luke Bible Study, the phone rang. When I answered the phone, a woman on the other end of the line asked if we did any kind of assistance for Christmas. Now, one of the things about being a church is that people are calling the church all the time needing help. And the simple fact of the matter is that it is impossible to help every single person that calls. With that in mind, I asked the woman what kind of assistance she needed. In a now quavering voice, the woman explained that she was a single mother trying to “do” Christmas for her children. She told me that she had called the police department, but because she lives outside the city limits, she does not qualify. I listened to the woman, keeping in mind Grace’s commitment to the Angel Tree families. When she was done, I tried as gently as possible to tell her that we were already committed to helping several families for Christmas and our little church just isn’t in a position to take on any more at this time. On the other end of the phone, I heard the woman begin to cry, and then she hung up.

It’s been a long time since I’ve wished I could take something back. But I’ve wished all week I could take that phone call back. I’ve wished over and over and over again that I hadn’t been so concerned with what we were already doing that I forgot what is possible for a Christian community to do when someone is in need. Our church could have helped that family. Really, as I think about it, Ken and I could have helped that family. I wish that I had answered her differently, we would have found a way to make it work; I know we would have. But now it’s too late. I don’t know the woman’s name, much less her phone number. There is no way I can undo that sad mistake I made on Monday.

As I mentioned, I’ve thought a lot about that phone call this week. At first, all I thought about was how sad it is that I turned that woman away. But then I started thinking about how disappointing it is that she, in such a sad state, had to call churches to begin with. It is an extremely unfortunate sign of the times. If our culture wasn’t so off-track about what Christmas is about, that woman never would have been so upset about having difficulties providing “Christmas” for her children. But she knows that if there aren’t toys under the tree for her children this Christmas, it will be devastating. She knows that her children will return to school after break only to be shown all the latest and greatest toys and gadgets that their friends got for Christmas. Then the kids will be sad, and upset, and angry that they didn’t get the same awesome toys as their friends. And the kids will feel resentment toward their mother who didn’t give them a “Christmas” as great as their friends had. So the mother cries. All because when it comes to Christmas, we are looking for joy in all the wrong places.

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