Have you lost something of value to you or someone you loved? Are you confused and asking why?
Let me share some comforting thoughts with you.
Eric B. Hare was a missionary in Burma (now Myanmar)during the 1940s. This is a story he related once.
"I remember a Christmas season many years ago, when Eileen was eleven and Lenny was just seven years old. We lived on our mission station away up in the jungle, and I only went to the city three or four times a year for supplies. This year I planned a trip to Rangoon the first week in December.
"It will be the last opportunity to get the children something for Christmas," said Mrs. Hare. So after they had
gone to bed we counted our savings, thought hard, and wrote down on the list a doll for Eileen and a steam engine for Lenny.
As the motorboat honked its arrival on my return, the children came excitedly down to meet me. The schoolboys unloaded the boxes and bundles, and carried them as marked to the dispensary, the school store, or our home.
"I know it's still three weeks to Christmas," said Mrs. Hare, "but what does it matter? There's no one to have Christmas with, so why not let the children have their things now?"
"All right," I agreed, and gave Eileen the box with her doll in it, and Lenny the box with his engine in it. What happy children they were! In just a few moments Eileen was singing to her new dolly, and lenny was erupting with squeals of joy as he filled his engine
with water and lighted the methylated spirits fire. Soon the wheel was turning around with a busy hum, 'Tr-rr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r,' and the whistle was 'Too-too-tooting!'
That afternoon the village postman brought a letter from Auntie Jessie! "She's coming in February to stay two or three months!" Announced Mrs. Hare as she hastily read the letter. "And she is bringing Edwin, Wilfred and Buddy! And the boys are getting a Meccano set for Christmas!"
"Oh, goody, goody!" we all chorused with glee.
And then I got to thinking. Being a father, I could see further ahead than the children could. I could see the steam engine turning the wheels and the merry-go-rounds we could make with the Meccano set. But this was only December and there were two months till the three Little cousins and their Meccano set would arrive! In two months the little engine might be all broken and useless. I thought it through for a long time, asked Mrs. Hare what she thought of my plan, then in the evening called Lenny, and said, "Son, I've been thinking."
"About the engine and the Meccano set! Wouldn't it be fun to have the engine turn a merry-go-round that we could make with the Meccano set!"
"Oh, yes, Daddy!"
"But if you play with the engine now, maybe it will be broken by t he time your cousins come. Wouldn't it be better to put the engine away now, so it will be brand new when Edwin, Wilfred and Buddy come?"
"Oh, but, Daddy, I want to play with it now."
"But it's not so much fun without the Meccano-set merry-go-round."
"But, Daddy, I want to play with it now. It's the only engine I've ever had in all my life."
I hesitated. I knew it would break his heart. I thought it all carefully through again. And more sure than ever that my way was best, I said, "We'll play with it once more, son, then we'll put it away so it will be brand new when the Meccano set comes."
He played with it till the fire burned out, and the steam died down. Then I emptied it, wiped it over, and put it away.
"You don't love me any more!" wailed little Lenny as if his heart was broken. "I want to play with my little engine; it's the only engine I've ever had in all my life."
I took him for a swim in the river. Mother had his favorite pumpkin pie for supper that night. There were stories and games to follow, and off he went to bed. In two or three weeks he had almost forgotten the engine, and hardly mentioned it again. The days and weeks went swiftly by. February came. Then one day the motorboat honked the arrival of Aunt Jessie and the little cousins.
"Hi, Lenny," shouted Edwin. "Guess what! We've got a Meccano set, and se can make a Ferris wheel!"
"And a merry-go-round," added Wilfred.
There was great excitement as everybody hugged and kissed everybody else. Then the luggage was brought to the house. The first thing to be unpacked was the Meccano set, and in a moment, four little boys were working feverishly on a bamboo mat constructing a Ferris wheel. And while they pout the parts together, I went in, got out the brand-new engine, and put it right in the middle of them.
"Oh-h-h, my engine!" squealed Lenny, and he busied himself putting in the water and lighting up. By the time he had steam up, the Ferris wheel was complete. Edwin got a long string belt, and in just a moment round and round it was going, driven by the little engine! Four little boys danced up and down and clapped their hands with delight. Four little boys ohed and ahed and laughed and shouted in glee. This was ecstasy undreamed of, joy unthought of, and I looked on for a long, long time in thoughtful satisfaction. Then I said, "Son, aren't you glad now that Daddy put the
little engine away?"
He came bounding over to where I sat, climbed upon my knee, put his arms around my neck, and said, "How did you know it would be better this way, Daddy? How did you know?"
And it gives me faith to believe that when God puts away our toys, the ones we love best of everything in all the world, He does it only that we can have them brand new in the morning. And when He seemingly
passes us by, and keeps something back that we would rather have than anything else in all the world, He is only doing it that it may be ours, unmarred, unscratched, unbroken, in the morning.
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Psalm 30:5." The Best of Eric B. Hare Stories, Fullness of Joy, pages 204-207.
Do you know someone who will be facing a difficult Christmas Season this year? Whether there has been a loss of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of employment or of a home, or even just the loss of health in a sudden manner that has brought a crisis to the life of that person, they need comfort and encouragement, especially during this season when so many are rejoicing and they are going through so much heartache!
You do not have to give a speech nor do some great act, just let them know you care.
You can simply send them a nice card or something nice to eat from your kitchen with a note that says, "I can't quite find the words to express how I feel, but I care, and would like you to know that I'm sorry about what happened, and I wish you God's blessing during the New Year."
It would mean so much for someone who is hurting!
Let your heart and your love for God and for people, guide you.
I wish you all the best, now only during this special Season, but all through the New Year!
Teach Us to Pray