I have some great childhood memories of Christmas as a child.
I remember helping decorate the Christmas tree and wondering what Santa would bring. Then there were the family gatherings and lots of Christmas cookies. One of my favorite memories was a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas day. I have carried that tradition into my adult years, and it is one of my most cherished Christmas moments.
I also remember hearing the words “ring the doorbell and leave the gifts on the porch.” That sentence inspired delight, anticipation, and adventure. During the Christmas season my parents would find a family in need and load them up with presents.
The family never knew who gave them the presents. Here is how we did our best to stay anonymous. We waited until it was dark outside. Then, we would put all the Christmas gifts in our car and drive to the family’s house. When we got near their house my dad would turn his headlights off. This part of the juncture was the anticipation and adventure part.
With headlights off and snow on the ground, we would run the presents up the porch as fast as we could. Then we rang the doorbell and hurried back to the car as fast as we could. I can remember my dad pulling out of the driveway and wondering how happy the family would be when they saw all those presents on their porch.
Of course, I never knew that part of the story because we did our best to do that in secret. When I think about this childhood Christmas adventure the scripture that comes to mind is – it is more blessed to give than receive. I knew the reality of that scripture as a young person even before I became a Christian. I saw that scripture come to life during many Christmas seasons.
Over the years on the Bridges set I have heard many families’ Christmas stories and traditions. While I have enjoyed all of them my favorite has always been “ring the doorbell and leave the gifts on the porch.”
The Christmas season evokes many different responses depending on the season of a person’s life. For some this Christmas holiday may be the first without a loved one. For another it may be the first Christmas as a single parent. For another it may be someone’s first “married Christmas.” Whatever season you are in I pray for His peace and comfort in your life. Immanuel – God with us is a strong reminder that we are never alone – He is with us. He gave us the best gift – His Son Jesus Christ who is the friend that sticks closer than a brother.
My memory of ringing the doorbell and leaving the gifts on the porch will always be one of my favorites. It taught me the value of giving with no expectation of receiving something in return. It was just giving for the pure joy of doing something nice for someone else. This holiday season you might plan your own surprise for someone else. It doesn’thave to be ringing the doorbell and leaving the gifts on the porch. It could be a giving adding a little to your usual tip for the server who seems worn out. Maybe it’s a smile, a note, or a Secret Santa type gift. There is some rewarding – even healing about considering others. It really is more blessed to give than receive.