I enjoy being cheerful and Christmas time is a special time to be cheerful and I try my best to live up to it. Occasionally, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage will suggest I am going a little too far.
During the rest of the year I stay out of shopping malls as much as possible. During the Christmas season, I want to go to the shopping mall and walk around without any purchases to make. I like watching people spend their money on things they do not need and for people they may not like.
I like to give cheer more than anything else. Actually, it is the only thing I can afford. And so I will send my cheerfulness into cheer bankruptcy. Whatever that may be.
The Christmas season has never been a time for me to spend excessive amounts of money. I leave all that to my wife. She knows how to shop and she begins her Christmas shopping right around February. I could never figure that out. When I buy a gift for someone, I want to hand it to them right then. She has the discipline to buy Christmas gifts months ahead of time.
Something happened this past week that brought all of my cheerfulness to an abrupt halt.
I had just come from the mall where I was making fun of people scurrying around trying to find the latest bargain. It is a little strange to me that when people get a gift for somebody they look for a bargain.
When I got home, I sat down in my recliner reminiscing about the day and then I did something I do not normally do. I took out my wallet to clean it. This is something I do at least once a year.
Sometimes I get cards in my wallet that have expired or are no longer valid. No sense in having things in your wallet that you do not need or cannot use. Several cards had expired and so into the trashcan they went.
You can tell a lot about a person by the things in his wallet. My wife, on the other hand, carries a purse. I will not be caught dead looking in that purse. In fact, I would be dead if caught looking. I am not sure what she has in her purse and I do not want to know what she has in there. I love living.
A man’s wallet is a little different. He has things in there that are rather practical. There will be a driver’s license, a Social Security card, insurance card, not to mention credit cards. Everything he needs to get through a week with plenty of cheerfulness on the side.
Going through my wallet this time I found something that shocked me to the core of my being. There in my wallet, folded up rather neatly and tucked in a corner, was a $50 bill. I cannot tell you the last time I saw a $50 bill. How it got there, I will never know.
My father always had a folded $50 bill in his wallet for emergencies. I am not my father.
Ordinarily, you would think finding $50 in your wallet would be a moment of rejoicing. Not so here.
It is towards the end of the year, all gifts are purchased for Christmas and all bills are paid. I like to pay ahead of time just to make sure the bills are being paid. And so there was nothing that needed to be paid at that time.
Life has taught me several lessons and one in particular. If you find extra money it means some disaster is about to befall. Usually the catastrophe that happens costs more than the money you find. I found $50 and so it is reasonable to believe that the catastrophe facing me will cost $100.
I did not know if I should mention this to my wife. It is not that we are superstitious, we have just lived life long enough to know what comes around goes around and what goes up usually comes down.
What is going to happen now? What is going to go wrong? What in the house is going to fall apart?
Then my dilemma was solved.
My wife came into the room and said, “I was wondering,” and she was stammering a little bit as she said it. “I was wondering if perhaps we could take the grandchildren out for Christmas lunch tomorrow. I know it costs a lot, but I think they would enjoy it.”
I smiled and she looked at me a little quizzically and asked, “What are you smiling about?”
It was then I pulled out of my wallet the neatly folded $50 bill and waved it in her direction and said, “I think Christmas lunch with the grandchildren tomorrow would be a fantastic idea.”
Some people worry about what they do not have. I worry about what I have to make sure I am using it in the best possible manner.
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High” (Psalms 92:1).
I am thankful for what I have but I am also thankful for what I do not have. Nothing takes the place of a contented heart and my contentment rests in the Lord Jesus Christ. I need nothing more.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.com.