So, you already know I grew up in Bolivia…well, to set the stage for this story, we lived in an apartment in part of a complex with guest rooms where other missionaries could come and vacation when they were needing a break from their jungle ministries. My mom was translating the Bible into the Ayore language there as well as being “hostess” to those who would occupy the rooms. My dad was making sure all the paperwork was in order between the mission and the Bolivian government, and making sure things were running smooth in the supply store we had that would ship materials out to the jungle missionary’s homes.
The housing complex was really beautiful – my dad hired a gardener and planted a rose garden, hedges and a bunch of other beautiful garden flowers. I used to love walking through the garden, smelling all the roses! (Except for the time my brother told me to not be afraid and to hold a bee that was investigating a rose on my finger …he told me that if you show no fear, you won’t get stung…yep, I totally go stung! Whatever, Mark!)
Well, back to the point of this blog – another Christmas memory.
This one Christmas we came home, went into our apartment and were astonished to find that all our presents were gone from under the little silver tinsel tree. A thief had been there for sure.
After some quick investigating, we went to the back side of the housing complex where the garbage barrels were and also where the gardener usually kept his stuff….yep, there we found all our wrapping paper in the barrel and the gardener was long gone. Funny, we never saw him again. Our Christmas had been stolen – or had it?
The gardener tried to steal our Christmas, but, because Christmas isn’t about our gifts, really, but is about THE GIFT – the life we receive because God sent the gift of His son to earth as a baby long ago so that he could grow up and ultimately pay the price for our sin by dying on a cross and then conquering death by rising from the dead….so that we can believe in Him and have the ULTIMATE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE – because that’s what Christmas is really all about, our Christmas wasn’t stolen at all.
By the way, Mom and Dad were able to get a few things under the tree, somehow, before Christmas and we had a very merry Christmas together in spite of everything. And, who knows, maybe the gardener was in desperate need and so his Christmas became merrier too!