Monday, December 26, 2022

Nancy Hughes: Jerry's Christmas

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you; You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:11-12 (NIV)

I’ll never forget that precious little boy: freckles scattered like tiny raindrops across his entire face, including his ears. Big brown eyes partially obscured by long else’s property first, but he never seemed to care., wispy blonde hair that brushed against an ever-present smile minus two front teeth.

Jerry was a first-grade student at the elementary school where I worked. He came from a home that was short on money but long on love. His clothes were always someone

And this Christmas season was no different.

As a mother of three, I was frantically trying to balance home, husband, kids and job while I shopped endlessly for the perfect “only thing I want” gifts for my family. Somewhere in the rush of the season, my focus shifted from the birth of a baby in a manger to the number of presents under our Christmas tree.

There was some success but at a price . . . a high price. My Christmas budget was shrinking rapidly. “Why couldn’t my children want something a little cheaper?” I kept thinking. “Why do they think they have to have everything they see on television?”

Those questions were occupying my thoughts as I walked down the first-grade hall and saw Jerry skipping toward me in his winter coat that was about three sizes too large and worn tennis shoes minus the laces.

“Hey, Jerry! How are you?” I asked. “I’m good, Miss Nancy. It’s almost Christmas . . . Jesus’ birthday . . . did you know?” I couldn’t help but smile at that comment. “Yes, I have heard that. So what do you want for Christmas, Jerry?”

He quickly replied “Oh, I already know what I’m getting. It’s the same every year.”

At this point I would have expected a child making that statement to duck his head in disappointment and go on, but not Jerry.

As I knelt down to hug and encourage him, Jerry put his hands on my shoulders and, with a huge smile, continued: “When I wake up on Christmas morning, there will be a BIG candy cane under my pillow!” as he licked his lips and rubbed his tummy in anticipation of that moment. “And then, under the tree, I’ll get a little Matchbox car to add to my others. I can hardly wait, Miss Nancy!”

As I hugged Jerry and watched him skip on to class, I could not hold back the tears of sadness – not for Jerry but for my attitude. Instead of focusing on Christ and His birth, I had gotten caught up in the world’s view that the number of gifts you have under the Christmas tree determines your happiness.

Christmas at our home would never be the same again. All because of a candy cane under a pillow, a Matchbox car under a tree . . . and a very thankful little boy named Jerry.

Father, thank you for the most priceless gift of love you could ever send – the gift of your Son. May we never forget that He went from a manger to the cross for us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Do you find yourself focused more on gifts than the Giver of Life at Christmas?

Have you talked with your children about the Ultimate Gift that Jesus gave each of us?


Sit down with your children and help them write on slips of paper the gifts that they can give Jesus this Christmas, like trusting Him, being obedient, and sharing Him with friends.

Have them wrap each of their gifts for Jesus in a box and offer each one to Him on Christmas morning in prayer.


Luke 2:11-12 (NIV) “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you; You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.”

Romans 6:23 (NIV) “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV) “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

John 1:14 a (NIV) “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)

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