Here is another Plumb Christmas Story. If you did not read my previous post please drop below and read it to understand why these Christmas stories are Plumb.
The Stupid Gift
Several years ago a Youth Minister's wife was struggling with the ministry her husband had chosen. The truth was she did not really like being around youth. It wasn't that she hated them...more like she just didn't get them. They were so self-centered, whinny, and could at times be very mean. Her frustration at this population would, on occasion, trickle over to being frustrated at her husband, whom she most of the time adored.
It was that way one Christmas. The youth were a little more challenging and seemed to be all about themselves even more than usual. The woman's husband had a plan, but as he shared it with his wife, she became critical and unenthusiastic. In fact, if she were to be honest she thought the whole idea was stupid.
The plan was to have the youth give a party for some kids who were needy, instead of having a party with gifts for each other. Sure enough, the plan was met with little to no enthusiasm by the youth; although the adult leaders (except for his wife) loved the idea. It was set.
After contacting a service ministry that helped the homeless and down and out, it was decided that everyone would draw the name of a child and buy them a pair of shoes.
"Shoes!" The youth minister's wife shouted. "What child at Christmas is going to want a pair of shoes? Why not toys or even a coat? Shoes? I don't get it! This party will probably bomb right in your face." Yes, She was a very supportive wife at that time....NOT!
The night of the party the church bus was packed with youth, adults, food and wrapped up packages of shoes. The children came into the shelter room and pounced on the food. "At least we did this right." Thought the youth minister's wife, still in a frustrated huff. Games were then played and carols sung. Everyone enjoyed the games and carols. "At least they had a good time." Thought the youth minister's wife feeling sad more than mad now. Her hard heart had begun to melt for these children and for the youth who were giving so generously from their hearts. She had never seen them so loving and eager to serve.
But now was the time to pass out the gifts. Oh how these children were going to be so disappointed. "SHOES! Only Shoes"
Each child's name was called and presents were tore into. With each opened package, came a strange sound. The youth minister's wife sat astonished and mystified. Each child screamed with delight at the shoes. Shouting, "My own Shoes!" "New Shoes and they are brand new!" "Wow! look ma! Shoes! Reeboks!"
The children were not disappointed the gifts were not toys! In fact, they were screaming with delight at the shoes! One little girl walked over to the youth minister's wife to show her her new shoes. " I'm going to sleep in these tonight! Are they really mine?" A youth boy had been standing beside the now broken wife. He picked up the little girl and said, "They are yours to keep. Jesus loves you and wanted us to get you new shoes." Tears fell down the youth minister wife's face and washed away the frustrations and prejudices she had against, not these homeless children, but the youth in her own church.
Many years have passed but I will never forget that night and how it broke my angry heart. There is not a Christmas that goes by where I don't think about those children, a gift of shoes, and self-centered me watching selfless youth give their all.