As you gather to celebrate Christmas with family and friends, I want to tell you a story. As a young couple with two little children our family ventured from Oregon to Kalispell, Montana to plant the first Foursquare Church in that mountain town. We went as pioneers. No one was there to greet us. Apart from the prayers that sent us out – we were alone with God. That first Christmas was very different as we gathered around our wood stove surrounded by the snowy landscape of the Rocky Mountains.
It was financially tight that first year. Our new church had less than 10 people in attendance. I remember in that season being able to only purchase one roll of toilet paper at a time. We made every dollar stretch. As Christmas approached it was obvious we did not have enough money to buy our kids a load of presents. Jan said, “Let’s go through the house and see what we have”. We emptied out our change jar, looked underneath the couch cushions, scoured the car and came up with $14.26. That was it – all of it in coin. We had a total of $14.26 to buy presents for our two little children who trusted mom and dad to make their Christmas special.
Jan went out to a dollar store and stretched the $14.26 to the max coming home with a bag full of little toys. She wrapped the toys and placed them under the tree. In the next few days, gifts from grandparents and aunts and uncles began to arrive in the mail. As the gifts from family came and were added to our $14.26 worth of gifts under the tree, we saw a developing miracle. There were more presents under the tree than in any previous Christmas. In fact, it looked abundant. Jan and I stood in front of our Christmas tree and wept at God’s goodness.
That Christmas taught me a valuable lesson. God can take our little and make it a lot. God loves to bring abundance out of lack. It reminded me of the disciples bringing Jesus a boy’s lunch and He turned it into a feast to feed thousands. One truth that has helped Jan and me through similar challenging seasons is this - anything we bring to God has the potential for supernatural multiplication.
This is a unique season of the year. No matter what your circumstance or emotions tell you, choose to believe that you and your family are candidates for something wonderful. This is the Immanuel season – God with us. This is a time when impossible things become possible. This is the time of year when a $14.26 Christmas was by far our most memorable one.