The Best Gifts…

…are people!

I had a wonderfully memorable last 24-hours. I was looking forward to Christmas — as usual — but this year brought some unexpected opportunities to spend some time with very special people.

Michael, Harrison, Samantha, Brandon
Michael, Harrison, Samantha, Brandon


On Christmas Eve my family got to know the McRae family, and to take a Christmas present to Michael. It was wonderful to see Michael’s face light up when he opened up the gift he had been dreaming of. Michael had worked very hard to raise money for a Nintendo DS, but unexpected family circumstances meant that his family had to use his popcorn sale money for family necessities. It was such a joy to be there when Michael got to open his DS!

While my family was with the McRaes, Jessica and Dave Czerny (our children’s pastor) were visiting with the Kimball family. I wrote about Tina in an earlier post. We presented this opportunity to our church, and the Bethel A/G family came through… big time! Jessica & Dave had the joy of delivering a huge stack of toys and clothes to Tina!  Check out some more pictures of Michael and Tina on Flickr.



       Today my family made a return visit to Caretel nursing home. I did a weekly chapel service at Caretel for three years, and passed the baton to Tom Johnston a little over a year ago. Today we got to go back to Caretel and sing Christmas carols with some very special friends

Christmas carols at Caretel

Christmas carols at Caretel

Then it was off to Grand Rapids to spend time with my family.

Truly the greatest gifts in my life are the special people I have the privilege of spending time with every day. These last 24 hours have been incredible — I am a blessed man!

3 Responses to “The Best Gifts…”

  1. Cathy Harris Says:

    Reading your blog made me happy, I was just having a cup of coffing with a smile on my face thinking back on the past 3 days of our life. This was an unexpedictly wonderful Christmas! I’m a basketball fan so I have to add that I’ve always wanted to go to a Mav’s game and never been. My friend called offering me enough tickets to take my kids and their friends. We had a wonderful time so that set the upbeat mood. On Christmas Eve I had the brilliant idea to work at 8 am, when I dragged myself in after going to the Mav’s game the night before:) I found an unexpeced gift on my table, a little silver bracelet with my favorite scripture written around, the scripture I have claimed since last Feb. Before we left for our candlelight service on Christmas Eve I called my friend to see if they wanted to go (at the last minute) she couldn’t, but her Aunt Sue who we love dearly met us. We sat together and laughed when the song finished before our candles were lit. We stood waving our unlit candles in the air. We rushed home because we had dinner in various stages already started. The doorbell rang, no one was there but our entire yard was glowing with luminaries. Our family stood in the yard each with huge smiles, our own thoughts. We enjoyed that so much that Chris and I did it last night to another family. We had fun doing it. At one point they came to the front door, we hid in the shrubs. I received a text within seconds saying thanks that they were thrilled and enjoyed it so much. Chris said he bet they didn’t enjoy it as much as we enjoyed it at our house. I could go on with the list of unexpected’s, the calls, the emails. One from a dear friend who said he woke up with me on his mind Christmas morning and prayed for me. The kind words of encouragement left me feeling blessed to have such wonderful friends. This friend lost his wife to cancer in April yet he is thinking of others! My house is upside down, i walked in the living room, this morning smelled pickles, found the source, an empty jar on the couch..upside down..pickle juice spilled on couch..unexpeced..but it will clean up!!! Blame that on college kids!!! I’ve especially enjoyed my kids, family and friends this year. I’ve appreciated the thoughtfullness of others. Maybe the unexpected things that have happened this Christmas are fairly normal and I have not taken the time to notice how special they are in the past!


  2. Tom Johnston Says:

    I’m so blessed,to think that God has alowed me to preach His Word. I look back at the lifestyle that led and then look at the lifestyle that I’m leading now (walking in Him), I get all giddy inside when I think of what could be in store ahead.
    That is what the Lord does: He takes the least and makes it good then makes it better then makes it the best, not so that we can say look what I have done but to say look what the Lord has done in me. GOD GETS ALL THE GLORY!!
    What a Gift,
    Rev. Thomas Carl Johnston


  3. Steve Says:

    It is wonderful to see how your church is reaching out to the community. It is also very cool to see how Tom is taking on these responsiblities and shouldering the burdens next to you. I am so glad you have Tom, Jessica and others to work beside you. You are very blessed.


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