A father’s love…
Today…among all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season…the Saturday before Christmas…I ventured out to run some last minute and seemingly important errands. “Tis the season…,” right?
When I left the house, I had no idea how much my perspective would be altered. Nor that I would be in tears with my three sons several hours later.
Allow me to set the stage. Saturday before Christmas. 11am. Big box strip mall. 45 degrees with a nice 15mph wind. Freezing. Sunny. Crowded. 1000 people trying to hurry to get everything done at the same time and same place. High stress. Pressed for time. Not excited about being there. Ever been there?
I’m in my car and pulling out of the parking lot after making a return at a home improvement store. I roll up to the light, to see a young man in his late 20’s or early 30’s, clean cut, jeans and a hoodie, freezing at the corner beside me with a sign. “Laid off, 2 kids, Will work for their Christmas.”
We’ve all seen people on the side of the road asking for money. We’ve all judged what they may or may not do with the money. We’ve passed them by. Or maybe even given them money, food, a ride or whatever seemed to be important in the moment.
Today was different. A father, unemployed, who loves his kids so much that he’s willing to stand outside and beg for work so that he can give his kids Christmas. Being a father, it struck a chord with me. I rolled my window down, attempted to offer him money. He approached the car and asked if I had some work that he could do. He wouldn’t take my money unless I had a job for him. I told him I lived a long way away and asked him to take the money for his kids. He thanked me several times. I told him about our church and offered him a ride. He said he needed to stay there so that he could find work today since Christmas was a few days away.
Giving him money wasn’t to make me feel good. I actually felt bad I couldn’t do more for him in the moment. But, coming across him has caused me to take pause in what transpired today. He has blessed me.
If you’re reading this, you’re blessed. We’re blessed. We’re all blessed beyond belief. For at any moment, it could all be taken away from us. To what point would you be forced to stand on a corner and try to pick up work so that you could afford Christmas for your kids? It can happen. Anytime.
As a father, telling my teenage sons about this humble other father, it brought me to tears. The love that he was displaying for his children was touching and inspiring. He caused me to look around, take note of what the Lord has blessed each one of us with and to thank Him for all that we have. And to give us wisdom of how to best use our resources.
A spiritual parallel also struck me today. Here was a dad, who loved his kids so much that he would stand on a corner and beg for work in the freezing cold. It reminded me of our Heavenly Father who sent his Son to the lowest of lows so that we could be blessed with eternal life. Ultimately, it’s all about a Father’s love for his children.
As we wrap up the holiday season the next few weeks, I urge you to take a look around and realize how blessed we all are. I ask that you consider the best ways to use the resources and talents you’ve been given.
I hope I run across that young man again sometime. I’ll find some work for him.
God Bless & Merry Christmas, everyone!