You eat homemade meals for every meal, and you don’t have to make a single one. Or you unwrap enough Graeter’s gift cards that will last you until next Christmas (I think my family is trying to tell me something…). Or you get to sleep under the same roof as eight of the most precious people in your life for a whole week. Or you always have a warm cup of coffee in the morning, thanks to your father-in-law and your new Yeti.
Life sure is good on Christmas break. I’m pretty certain I don’t want to go back to reality in a few days.
Because reality means work. And laundry. And the gym. And responsibilities. And Christmas break means sleeping in. And donuts. And card games. And family.
Speaking of family, we’ve gotten to spend some much needed time with my brother and sister-in-law this week. They live in Pennsylvania so time together is limited, but oh so sweet. The last few days we’ve been talking a lot about God’s sovereignty and His faithfulness (which by now, you should know is a big thing for me). One night we stayed up super late sitting around the kitchen table sharing stories, and I can’t even really explain to you how evident God was to me through the conversation.
I shared a story with them about an envelope I received in the mail.
A few weeks ago, Spencer and I realized as we pulled into our church parking lot that we forgot to get cash for the offering. Tithing is super critical and we couldn’t believe we weren’t prepared. I looked through my wallet to make sure I didn’t have a least a few dollars to give, and found a crisp one hundred dollar bill folded in a pocket. Immediately, I remembered that my step-dad had randomly given us money, but I’d forgotten I put it in my wallet.
I pulled the bill out and asked Spencer if we should give the one hundred dollars. I’m going to be honest here…I did NOT want to give one hundred dollars to our church offering. Immediate justifications as to why we shouldn’t give THAT much money to the offering began popping up in my mind. We’re newly married. We’re living on one paycheck. We have tons of bills. We can’t even afford the nice toilet paper.
So many excuses. My heart was so hardened as I went through all of our current struggles and proved why we shouldn’t give THAT much money to the church.
I hope I’m not the only one who has been there.
We walked into church, worshipped, then sat down for communion. As the trays were passed and I ate and drank, the words “Your money belongs to Me” echoed in my heart. I squinted my eyes open for a hot second to make sure Spencer hadn’t creepily whispered in my ear, then realized what God was trying to tell me.
My money belongs to Him.
In that moment, my heart softened. Ever so gently yet firmly, like He always does, the Lord unveiled a dark spot that needed His light. I reached for my wallet, pulled out the bill, and turned to Spencer to make sure he knew (because what’s mine is yours). When the offering passed by, I dropped the money in with no reservations.
After church, those words kept playing over and over in my mind, “Your money belongs to Me.” What other areas in my life do I hold onto because they are “mine”? Probably every area if I’m honest. I wrestled with the lack of trust I had in the Lord that Sunday for a few days because I desire to give all that I have to Him, but actually doing it is much harder.
So fast forward to Wednesday of that week. I went to dinner with several of my girlfriends for a Christmas gathering and when I got home it was pretty late. Spencer had checked the mail earlier that day and left an envelope addressed to me on the kitchen table. The front was written in chicken scratch. I thought it was from my brother (because his handwriting isn’t the best – sorry bub!) but wasn’t sure. I opened the folded piece of paper inside.
The paper said, “There is always an angel looking out for you.” And tucked under the bottom flap of the paper were two fifty dollar bills. No signature. No return address.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! Someone sent us one hundred dollars right after I struggled with giving the SAME amount back to God a few days before. I literally had no words, and still don’t today. This was one of those moments where I had to sit in the bathroom, by myself, and pray.
To me, that story was amazing. Unheard of. But after telling mine, Leta and Jordan told a story so similar during their first year of marriage it was freaky. We sat around the kitchen table sharing and talking more about God’s faithfulness, and that night I went to bed more full than after any homemade meal.
Christmas break is awesome when you spend time with family you haven’t seen in awhile. When you laugh at the silly things your 2 year old niece says. When you aren’t the only one who sneaks another cookie.
But Christmas break is really awesome because of Jesus. His birth, death, burial, and resurrection are the ultimate gifts we’ll ever receive. More than Yeti cups and Graeter’s ice cream. Christmas break is good for reminding us that through Jesus’ birth, God showed us the most glorious example of His faithfulness. And that’s pretty awesome.