The 12 Days of Christmas -1280

The 12 Days of Christmas -1280
By Rick Cadden Associate Pastor of Administration and Operations Columbus Avenue Baptist Church
One of the most amazing gifts was presented to our family one Christmas. A gift that my family will never forget! It was such an out of the ordinary gift and a gift that lasted and then ended with such excitement. We had two small children at the time and they were excited like never before. Let me explain!
It was a few weeks before Christmas and we were living in a rent house at the time. I was self-employed then and money was a little tight, but we managed. Christmas wasn’t going to be big this year. I woke up early and got ready for work like I always do and headed out the door. Our garage was full so we parked out front on the driveway. When I opened the front door to leave, there it was. I noticed a small package with a note lying on the front door step. The note read, “On the 1st day of Christmas”. That’s all it said, no name or explanation.
That evening I shared it with the kids and none of us could figure out what it meant. The very next day I did the same routine and there was another small gift outside the front door this time with a note that said, “On the 2nd day of Christmas”. That’s all it said, no name or explanation.
Again, that night I shared it with the family and we could not figure this out. On day three we found another small gift with the same note. We finally discovered that each note was counting down the 12 days of Christmas and each day the gift was the number for that day. On the first day, we noticed the gift was one item, on the second day it was two items, and on the third day it was three items wrapped together. Now we are getting somewhere! But who was doing this crazy fun thing? Each day this continued as the fun and anticipation grew. Now each morning I was no longer the first one out the door. The kids or my wife would beat me to the front door and open it to the gift laying on the front step. There were 3 candles, 4 bows, 5 candy canes, 6 rolls of wrapping paper, and so on.
But the kid in me came out and I just had to know who was doing this and when were they doing it. I was getting up different hours of the night and morning trying to pin down the time the gift is arriving to maybe catch the person but no luck. So, I came up with a plan. Our driveway was long and the garage doors faced the long driveway looking down to the street. There were two long narrow windows in each garage door at eye level. My plan was to stay up all night until the gifts arrived and I could see who was doing this for us. That cold night, I went into the garage and sat on the kids rocking horse with a blanket over me and looking right out the windows down the drive way. After hours of nothing moving around out there I went inside to get some sleep. Christmas Eve day would be the 11th day so my chance of catching someone was now or maybe never. I went back in to the garage at around 4am and found my spot on the rocking horse again. There I was like a little kid when all of a sudden something peered in the driveway close to the street. A tall person with dark clothes and a beanie hat that covered his head and face was slowly walking up the drive. If it wasn’t the giver it would be a burglar the way they were dressed.
With the front porch light on the outside, the glare of the garage windows made me unnoticeable. I perked up and while staring at the person, they walked right up to the front door and laid the gift on the step. The person was only a few feet away and then it happened. They looked right at me! I knew they could not see in. It was Mark!
Once he left, I went back inside and slipped back into my warm bed. My wife asked if saw anyone. I told her who it was and we laughed at amazement. We did not tell the kids what I had done. Christmas day would be the 12th day, but on that morning something strange happened. There was no gift that morning. We looked all around the front door. Nothing! Did I scare them off I thought. Did I ruin the fun! Mid-morning the doorbell rang and there stood Mark and Leann. We invited them in the house and they began to tell about the gifts. They also read us a poem about the 12 days of Christmas and meaning of giving to others.
Mark shared how we should give because God first gave. Jesus is the greatest gift of all to mankind. He then explained that he would leave the gift on his way to work every morning around 4am. They did not leave the last gift so that they could bring it by in person and share the poem and reveal themselves. It was a great family time hearing about Mark and all the fun he had leaving the gifts, hearing dogs bark, the early paper route guy driving by, and just the darkness of walking around in the early hours. I then told Mark and Leann my funny story of waiting up all night sitting in the garage on a rocking horse waiting to catch him. We all laughed and enjoyed our stories. Mark told us that they too were the recipients of the 12 days of Christmas and just wanted to share it and keep the fun going so they chose us. What a huge blessing!
Over the next 10 years we carried on the fun by doing the 12 days of Christmas to other couples and families. I would get up at early hours of the morning and deliver the gifts. Many times my kids would ask to go with me. We also ran into many funny situations while delivering the gifts. On several occasions the people would not be home on Christmas day and for many days after so we never got them the last gift and poem. They never knew who it was. One year after a few days of leaving the gifts, the people we were blessing would leave me a gift on the front porch saying thank you. I told this story to our church friends and they wanted in on the fun and started doing this too. In fact, once there were several doing it at the same time and one person was going to be out of town for a couple nights in the middle of it and asked me to fill in. So, for a few mornings I was delivering more than one gift. It was all fun and exciting!
In the popular Bible verse John 3.16, it tells us that God first gave by giving us His son that we may have eternal life. That is what Christmas is all about: celebrating the birth of the greatest gift to mankind of all. What better way to celebrate giving than by giving to others. What about you this year? Are you giving? How will you give the gift of love and blessing?
Merry Christmas