Even though it’s already Christmas Eve, you’ve still got time. Trust me on this one.
Around 8:00 a.m. one Christmas morning, a minister walked passed the nativity scene, majestically arranged, out in front of the church. In anticipation of the day, he went to the nativity display and prepared to say a prayer.
To his chagrin, the little Christ child figurine was missing. He momentarily looked around the immediate vicinity to see if it had just been misplaced. When he didn’t find it he began a full-scale investigation of the entire church property. Unfortunately, the critically important nativity piece was never found and it bothered the minister all day long.
He was so upset by the seemingly callous behavior of some prankster or thief that he brought the incident up in each of the Sunday services. His agitation was obvious to all as he declared, “What a sad world we live in that someone would steal the Christ Child from a nativity scene.”
Christmas day came to an uneventful end with no sign of the Christ Child. So, the minister set out for a meditative stroll in the wintry dusk. Along the way, he encountered a little boy named Johnny Mullaney who belonged to the minister’s church. Johnny came from a very poor family, but his spirits couldn’t have been any higher as he walked in the cold, wintry evening.
Johnny was obviously underdressed for the cold. But that didn’t stop him from pulling his new Christmas gift: a brand new, bright red wagon. The minister knew such a gift represented a major sacrifice for Johnny’s parents. So, he hurried across the street to speak to little Johnny about his new wagon.
“Johnny, did you get this for Christmas?” the minister asked.
“Well, yes sir, I did,” Johnny replied, with a huge smile on his face. The minister’s demeanor changed instantly when he noticed the Christ Child figurine sitting in Johnny’s red wagon. All at once, the furor of the day seemed to erupt as the minister lectured Johnny about the severity of stealing things. Especially from a church!
Johnny began to cry and as he did the minister felt bad that, perhaps, he’d overdone it scolding the young boy. “Johnny,” the minister said, as he put his arm around the quivering little boy, “It’ll be okay. You just need to learn not to take things that aren’t yours.”
Suddenly, Johnny looked up and said, “But, preacher, I didn’t take anything. I’ve been praying for a red wagon, all year long. And I promised Jesus, if I got it, I’d take Him out for the first ride.”
Can I ask you a question on this wonderful Christmas Eve? Are there any promises you’ve made to Jesus you need to keep? Maybe you can’t give Jesus a ride in your new red wagon, but I’m sure there’s something else you can give Him. How about your life?
In just a few hours, churches all over America will be holding Christmas Eve services. Why not get your family and head to church and give something to Jesus?
You’ve still got time!
© 2015. Barry L. Cameron
[There are a few tickets left for our 3:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. services. Call the office at (817) 557-2277, and we can hold them for you or you can come by and pick them up.]
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.