Especially This Christmas

Especially This Christmas

Who’s on your Christmas list? Would the Apostle Paul have made the cut?


All I Want for Christmas

Before I went to Haiti earlier this year, I would have to say that Paul would not have made the cut. Someone like Paul would have been out of sight, out of mind. I’m thankful for all of his hard work. I’m especially thankful for his heart to bring all of us Gentiles the gospel. But he’s just so far away. And after all, I haven’t received a single Christmas card from him in literally ever.

How do you decide who makes the Christmas list cut? For me, it’s kind of an unspoken tradition that drives me. I send cards out to people that send cards to me. I try to spend equal amounts. If I think you’re going to give me a gift that’s worth $50, guess what I’ll spend on you? I give to the people I usually give to – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. I give to a few charities.

This Christmas giving blend consists of love mixed with a hint of tradition, a pinch of habit, a splash of obligation and a whole lot of selfishness. One endless loop of “All I Want for Christmas”.

That pretty much sums up my tradition of giving. Scratch that. I should say that was my tradition of Christmas giving. This year, everything changed. I met my especially.

Galatians 6:10 says,

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (NKJV, emphasis mine).

O Come All Ye Faithful

So according to this verse, we’re supposed to do good to all. There are a lot of awesome charities that fit the bill this time of year. Operation Christmas Child is one of my favorites. It’s just an all around great charity that is a simple and practical way to brighten the lives of needy children around the world. Not only do the kids benefit from the contents of the shoebox (typically a few fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies) but also it launches them into a twelve-week discipleship program. Bonus! This Christmas season, Samaritan’s Purse hopes to send 11 million boxes to over 150 countries. That’s a lot of shoeboxes!

Still, just shy of especially.

Ever think about what’s beyond the box? I mean when the soccer ball pops and the dolls head falls off. Or when the toothpaste tube is empty. Or when the pencil is down to its last stroke of lead. Then what?

That’s where we meet the especially.

The especially are especially special.

They’re the ones that go the distance after we toss our trees and box up our ornaments. They’re the ones that rock sick children to sleep. There the ones that cry themselves to sleep hoping and praying someone will open up their hearts and their wallets to feed one more malnourished child. They’re the ones that leave the comforts of their own first world homes to pour out their love and their lives to the less fortunate.

They are our modern day Paul’s. They’re the humble. They’re the ones that don’t ask for a single thing. They’re the ones we pay little attention to through the year. They’re the ones that come home on furlough wanting to share the needs and the miracles with us and we too often opt for the Sunday night football game. They’re the ones that we need to put at the very top of our Christmas lists. They’re the ones that for too many years were out of sight out of mind. They’re the ones that changed everything for me this Christmas.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Nick said there’s one temperature in Haiti, hot!

He’s right about that. You’re sweating before you ever step out of the shower. There’s never a need to turn on the hot nozzle. It just comes out that way.

But I bet it can feel cold when you see your bills start to pile up. You’re thousands of miles from home. You’ve moved your entire family (wife, three kids) to the mission field, start the adoption process on a sweet little Haitian girl, and the wheels start falling off one by one.

The adoption takes longer – a lot longer than you expected. The hoops you have to jump through are many and they’re costly. Your son becomes ill. There’s a hospital stay. And then there’s another trip to the hospital. This time it’s for the child whose adoption isn’t finalized. No insurance to offset this one.

I bet that’s about when the enemy sends a cold chill through your soul and whispers, “You haven’t made the Christmas list cut.” Now what?

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer

I’m not a Grandma (yet) and there were no reindeers involved. But sometimes God gets my attention with a swift whack over the head.

I’m making my list and checking it twice. What to get Dave? New golf clubs? Nope, did that a few years ago. Maybe a drone? He’d like that but would the neighbors?

Phone rings. It’s Nick. Before he passes the phone to the girls we sponsor to say hello I ask how he’s doing. He tells me the story. I swing into fix it mode. I’ll call the church. I’ll help them start a Go Fund Me website. I’ll get someone else to do something!

That’s when I get run over by the Holy Ghost.

You do something!


And my list of excuses start scrolling like the credits at the end of the Titanic movie.

I can’t because…

I’m not working.

We’ll have to dip into our savings.

We’re already supporting several charities that fall into the “good to all” category.

And then selfish girl has an idea. This could be our Christmas present to one another. Forego the gifts and put our especially at the top of the list. And throw in some more for good measure.

So we did.

A couple days go by and I’m doing the dishes. I get an overwhelming heart tug to stop what I’m doing and go take care of the love offering we agreed to send. So that’s what I did. And then this is what God did…

I get an email from Sara. She said Nick had just called from the hospital. He tells her how much the procedure would cost. He tells her he doesn’t know how they’re going to pay for this one. She assures him that God will provide. And He did. Right on time. They received all that they needed to cover this particular test.

Enough people responded to God’s prompting to make this family their especially. They made the cut and received what they needed at just the right time to be reminded that God’s got this.

Here’s the lesson. God is the keeper of the especially Christmas lists. Emmanuel came to know us in a very intimate and personal way. He knows what the especially’s need. He has a plan to supply all their needs and sometimes He uses us in the process. O that this Christmas we would heed the call to participate in His Christmas miracles.

Dave and I ate our dinner that night in stunned silence and joyful tears. Christmas came early to our house. We got to be part of an A-list miracle and bless an especially.

Who is God putting on your heart to bless this Christmas? Who needs to be on the top of your list? Maybe a name just came to mind. Don’t dismiss it.

If you’re not sure, you can borrow our especially’s to add to your list this Christmas. Nick and Sara can use added support for a long list of expenses and needs they still have. Any contribution can help. For a tax-free donation you can go to Select Nick and Sara in the missionary section. Or, visit their website at You’ll see giving information on the right side of the page.

Little Christla needs continued prayer. Pray that the doctors can find the cause of her seizures and heal her. Pray that her adoption would be expedited so she can get the care she needs in the states. Pray for this precious family that serves so faithfully beyond the box.

“If you cannot feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Mother Teresa

Merry Christmas dear friends!

Want to go deeper on today’s topic? Download the study guide.

And Don’t Forget to Share the Joy!


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