"The choices we make change
the story of our life." ©
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Day Seven of Seven
This is my last blog on U-Turns this time around, so I want to close with this Christmas story from our family's history. I hope it will bless you as it has me.
On Christmas morning, 1912, in Paducah, Kentucky, fourteen-year-old Charlie Flowers and his three brothers and two sisters huddled in their beds, fully dressed, trying to keep warm as the wind howled outside their small frame house.
It was a desperate time for the family. The coal had run out. There was little money--none for gifts. Their tree with decorations made from scraps of colored paper had been given to them the night before by a local merchant who said he "couldn't sell this last one." And earlier that year their father had died.
To pass the time, the children joked and shouted stories from their bedrooms across the hallway from one another. Then suddenly a racket from the alley at the rear of the house broke into their games.
"Charlie," his mother called, "would you see what's going on out there?"
Charlie pulled on his shoes and ran out back. There stood a man in a wagon bent over a load of coal, shoveling it into the shed as fast as he could.
"Hey mister, we didn't order any coal," Charlie shouted. "You're delivering it to the wrong house."
"Your name's Flowers, isn't it?" the man asked, still shoveling.
"Well then, there's no mistake. I've been asked to deliver this to your family on Christmas morning." Then he turned and looked the awe-struck boy square in the eye. "And I'm under strict orders not to tell who sent it," he teased.
Charlie ran into the house, his coat tail flapping in the cold morning wind. He could hardly wait to tell his mother and brothers and sisters. God had provided.
Charlie Flowers died in 1994 at age 96. And right up to the last year of his life, not a Christmas went by that he didn't tell the story of that sub-zero Christmas morning of his boyhood when two men gave his family an unforgettable gift.
It wasn't the coal that was remembered or cherished, Charlie often recounted--welcome as it was--but rather what two men brought to his desperate family. One, for his gift of recognizing their great need and taking the time to do something about it, and the other for being willing to give up part of his own Christmas morning to deliver it.
That gift of so long ago has continued to warm the Flowers family from one generation to another, as Charlie's son--my husband Charles--calls to mind these two unknown men each Christmas morning and whispers a prayer of thanks. Then we as a family praise God for His gift on the first Christmas morning––the gift of His son, Jesus Christ, whom He sent to a needy world--the One who makes possible the U-Turn that brings each one of us to Him, our Lord and Savior.
God bless each of you and my thanks to those who sent comments during the week. May Christmas this year be special for all of us and the new year, bright with the promise and hope that Jesus brings.