Day Four: Christmas Change

I remember the smell of him.

Well-known on our hollow, he had no home–though our neighbors let him sleep in their barn.

He wandered.

We would see him walking up Gore Hill, or sitting on the bridge at the fork in the road.

My mother, without fail, would pull over and offer him a ride. He would squeeze into the back seat of our station wagon, sandwiched into the four of us. We would hold our breath and avert our eyes, lifting them only to throw desperate glances at one another.

If we ran across him when mom was not present, he always said the same thing.

“Your mamma is a good woman.”

We didn’t have much. But we were taught to share what we did have with those who had even less.

Christmas was not celebrated in our house when I was a child, but this is a gift my mother gave that I still unwrap each day.

Every year during Advent, my heart is tendered to the past.  I am very aware of those absent Christmas memories, very aware of the ones we create now. But…

Though we did not exchange gifts–did not deck the halls, Christ was central in our lives every day.

For this, I am grateful.

I wait with bated breath.

And am even more determined to pass along this gift my mother gave.

This year, we are doing this.

Here are some ways we have decided to change up our Christmas this year.

We decided to collect all the change we receive while out Christmas shopping this season. And that change that just sits around the house, doing no good for anyone. Our goal is to raise $100 to purchase something from the WorldVision catalog for our sponsored children.

I got this idea from Marcus Goodyear. The boys are going through their toys and donating some gently used items to charity. This is only the beginning.

While they were going through toys, I was going through closets. Can you believe I found 23 pairs of barely worn underwear in Jeffrey’s drawer that he has outgrown? Amazing, those growth spurts. These will be donated to our local clothing bank.

What about you? Head over to Christmas Change for some great ideas about giving back this Christmas. While you’re there, read this article by Billy Coffey. I know you’ll be inspired. He’s swell.

live the gospel

This post is part of my 12 days of Community posts. Head over to HCB to learn more about why you should promote someone other than yourself this holiday!

Related posts:

Day one: A Gift Community
Day two: Glynn Young
Day three: Leslie Leyland Fields

Christmas Badge

And, don’t forget to make a comment here for a chance to win Leslie’s book, Parenting is Your Highest Calling and Eight Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt.


  1. says

    How wonderful and thoughtful… especially in this economy…Great ideas..I wanted to share this Christmas shopping idea.. I found this site called EZwingame. They are giving away free things like a Nintendo Wii ( which I played for to give my son) as well as Calvin Klien perfume for me.

    I liked your post..

  2. says

    Thanks for reminding us that no matter how little we think we have or can give, there are always those who have less. We packed clothing and shoes the kids barely used, as well as the toys they had outgrown and took them to our local domestic violence shelter.
    Thank you for sharing that link to Christmas Change.

  3. says

    Oh…this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing. (And for sharing the yummy receipe–my family will LOVE it!)

    I love the idea of Christmas change. I am going to tell the fam about it tonight at supper.


  4. says

    “my heart is tendered to the past”

    Because of your history, you carefully shape your present and your future with love and grace and humility.

    And as always, your tender heart shines through. We, too, have decided to do things differently this year. With God’s gift living out loud in our souls, how can we not?


  5. says

    Your Mom handed down a wonderful legacy Laura. What a precious heart she has.
    We did the same thing you are doing last Christmas. In all honesty, I wondered if I would feel sad not getting any presents. The amazing thing was – I didn’t. This girl who loves getting little things didn’t miss it one bit. My husband, who gives so generously, taught me a wonderful truth.
    We’re doing it again. Can’t wait!

  6. says

    fun that you promoted Christmas Change!

    (Thought I should tell you that the tree is a Japanese Maple, I think. The snow upon it looked like thousands of butterflies, frozen, waiting… 🙂

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