We were newlyweds, celebrating our first Ohio Christmas together, both of us bored out of our minds. The tiny “blink and you’ll miss it” country town held little charm and even less in the way of evening entertainment. Our first ministry in the brick church by the railroad tracks wasn’t going so well, and we had lacked hope that our efforts were making any lasting impact on the community.
I’m not really sure how it all came about because we really had no extra money to speak of. But we were both hungry for something more.
When the opportunity to give hope presents itself, it’s a good idea to grab hold and let it take us places we might not normally go.
We became aware of a single mom in the church who was struggling to provide the basic necessities for her young son and daughter. The struggle was so real, it was clear that Christmas wasn’t going to happen without a little help.
Looking back, I realize we were in need of an adventure. We needed to do something extravagant, and we wanted to make our first Christmas memorable.
That night before Christmas birthed our Christmas Ninja.
Our adventure began with a 45-minute drive to the nearest mall. Cabbage Patch dolls were all the rage, firetrucks were always a winning choice, and we were certain mom would love a cozy, festive sweater to mark the occasion. It didn’t matter that we weren’t buying for each other because there was nothing that could replace the sheer joy and delight of that night.
I remember returning home to wrap the gifts and scrounging through our closet to find anything black to cover us from head to toe because the last thing we wanted was to be seen or heard.
With an armful of wrapped gifts and a pact to move as stealthy as a ninja, we drove along the snowy country roads to our destination. The house was rundown, dark and dreary, plopped in between a block of homes popping with twinkling lights.
We parked our car down the street, and careful to create as few tracks in the snow as possible, we snuck up the stairs of the front porch, deposited the gifts, rang the doorbell and took off running as if we had been caught doing something wrong.
The laughter and adrenaline lasted through the night. But what has lasted a lifetime is the vision of a curly-haired preschooler clutching her brand-new Cabbage Patch doll through the door the church building on Christmas morning.
We learned a powerful lesson about giving and receiving hope that night.
One we never expected, and it’s moved us to live out that lesson each Christmas in creative and spontaneous ways.
Our Christmas Ninja has always been a part of our family. A one-of-a-kind piece of artwork hangs on our wall every season to remind us of how our Hope came quietly within the lonely walls of a Bethlehem stable. How he came to give us full access to everlasting hope. And how even during those times we doubt the presence of hope or the way of hope, we can always experience its fullness…
through the simple act of giving hope~One of the best ways to access hope ourselves is to give hope to another. Click To Tweet
Looking for hope this Christmas
Try these Hope-Giftings…
Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Secretly adopt a family for Christmas
Deliver wrapped stuffed animals, children’s books or coloring books to the pediatric floor of the hospital
Bake and deliver treats to your local fire department
Participate in Angel Tree
Fill a shoebox for a child in a remote country through Samaritan’s Purse
Provide the resources to heal just one child through Cure International
Anonymously pay someone’s Christmas layaway
Sponsor a child through Compassion International
Do something EXTRAVAGANT, do something MEMORABLE, create an ADVENTURE!Sharing our blogs at #FreshMarketFriday #linkup! Trading the #Grinch, for the #Christmas Ninja! Click To Tweet
If you missed previous Hope for the Holidays Posts….
Our Second Annual Blogger Holiday Gift Exchange is underway!
We have a wonderful group of bloggers participating this year, and everyone should have received the name of their secret swapee along with package mailing instructions. Be sure to get your packages in the mail! We want everyone to be surprised by the special package waiting for them on their doorstep in time for Christmas! And be sure to post pictures with the #BloggerGiftSwap so we can all enjoy the gift exchange together.
Before you leave…
I’m excited to announce this week’s Featured Fresh Find is Lureta from Journeying by Faith!
Lureta’s post is all about HOPE, expecting it, embracing it and savoring it up with those who need a little help finding hope this season. We don’t have to look very far to find someone in need of the message of Christmas, and Lureta encourages us to reach out and extend this message of love and hope to a world in need.
Won’t you please visit Journeying by Faith and share some Fresh Market Friday encouragement…because we all need a little encouragement!
For those who have been featured, grab this button for your sidebar!
A few guidelines to ensure the best experience…
Share your piece of fresh goodness below…