By Judy Brandon: Local Columnist
This time of year, I invariably receive anonymous letters because I write about Christmas. They chastise me for giving credence to the pagan holiday of Christmas.
Well I am bracing for a new batch of anonymous letters because I have four columns lined up all about Christmas.
At Christmas we think about giving gifts because we remember the greatest gift of all — Jesus. Without the gift of God’s son Jesus, we would have no hope for the soul. Even though we celebrate Christmas, we can lose perspective of real giving. Giving is attitude and mindset that should be present every day of the year.
A student once told me a story about her aunt who had the right idea about giving. It was an unusual story and I have no reason to believe it was not true.
Auntie Mille was a single mother with two children. She struggled to meet her little family’s needs and that was complicated when the news came one day that her sister was killed in a car accident. She had eight children. So Mille took in the eight as her own.
Times were hard and life was difficult. Yet, an unexpected surprise came one day when an insurance company notified her that she was to receive the money from her sister’s life insurance policy.
Now think about it: What would most people do with that money if they had taken in eight children? Some might think: “Well this house is too small? Ten children? I’ll have to add two more bedrooms and another bath.”
Instead, despite no formal training about investments or financial concepts, she invested it.
Ten children in a little two bedroom house was hard. They passed down clothes and resoled shoes with cardboard. Mille kept them in school and church. Each Sunday, the crew took up an entire pew. They all worked, even the smallest children, and everyone put their money in the “savings.”
When the first boy of the 10 children graduated from high school and then married, Auntie Mille handed him an envelope.
“Here’s a little money to help you get started,” she said.
He thankfully took the envelope, thinking it was a small cash gift. Inside was a bank book with the numbers $20,000 written on the balance line. Then when each child left home, she gave each $20,000.
Because Auntie Mille was a good steward, life insurance money from her sister made the difference.
Our attitudes should be just like Aunt Mille’s and there is no better time to start than the Christmas season. Her attitude reflected the words of the prophet Micah: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).
By taking in the children, she showed mercy. By not touching the insurance money for herself, she acted justly. As she raised those children in the midst of difficult times, she walked humbly.
Living by those words all year, we can bless others all year — not just during the Christmas season. That is real gift giving.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org