Each year, our friends, the Gebhards, put up a ‘Jesus Stocking’ at their house in December. All month, they collect money, and then use the funds to buy a gift for someone in need. All month, they thumb through the Samaritan’s purse catalog, hoping to be able purchase a dairy goat, stock a fish pond, or give toward a fresh water well.
Often when people come to their home, the Gebhards get to explain what the stocking is for, and sometimes their friends and family even throw a few dollars in because they think it’s a neat idea.
In all the years past, Kevin and Angela promised to match the girls’ gifts, along with what they had planned to give. But this year was different. Kevin had lost his job, and so while they would be giving a little bit, they told the girls it wouldn’t be as much as last year.
Kevin and Angela didn’t expect this to be as disappointing to their girls as it was. They had always totaled the gift at the end of the month and showed enthusiasm over how the number had grown compared to previous years, but that wasn’t really the point. The point was to give—which they still planned to do.
Together, the girls came up with a different plan. They told all of their grandparents, aunts and uncles—anyone who would have ordinarily given them a Christmas gift—that this year, in lieu of a gift, they would love for them to contribute to the Jesus stocking.
Their family members were incredibly touched by the tender hearts of these sweet girls. Not wanting a Christmas gift? Wanting to give instead of receive? That was the kind of Christmas spirit they wanted to endorse. So these family members gave to the Jesus stocking—and they probably gave more than they would have spent on gifts!
When the Gebhards totaled the amount, they were astounded. $1,005.00!! It was the biggest amount they had ever been blessed to give! And the joy they might have experienced by unwrapping gifts was far exceeded by emptying their Jesus stocking, and giving to others.