Faith Stories: A Christmas Blessing
In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35
Every year at Christmas, the dormitory students at the Louisiana School for the Deaf look forward to receiving gifts from the school’s Foundation. The gifts are usually fun items that the students enjoy using in their free time after school. In the past, gifts have included items such as basketballs, bicycles, magazine subscriptions, glamour items for the older girls and video gaming equipment.
The students, who live too far away from school to come in daily on a bus, reside in dormitories according to their age and gender. In November of each year, the students turn in a “wish list” to the Foundation, and six of the board members take the lists and purchase the items for the student dormitories. On the first Monday of December, the Foundation Board members deliver the gifts to excited children who wait anxiously to see what new items will be in the packages.
This year I volunteered to purchase items for the High School Boys’ Dorm. I was prepared to receive this year’s Christmas wish list; instead, I received a nice surprise. I learned that the boys wanted to make a donation this year to those in need rather than be on the receiving end of this tradition. They were open to ideas for recipients of their gift. I explained what The Shepherd’s Market is doing and offered that suggestion. A few of the high school boys have volunteered in previous years through an off-campus career education work program. Additionally, I shared that there are some deaf clients who visit the Shepherd’s Market monthly. Everyone at the meeting agreed it would be a wonderful place to share the high school boys’ gift.
On the December evening that the Foundation Board delivered gifts to the students in the various dormitories, a large card was presented to the high school boys with pictures from the Shepherd’s Market and a picture of the deaf clients signing “thank you” to the boys for their gift.
It was a heartwarming experience for all who attended that evening because we saw these young men, who generally are on the receiving end, learn the life lesson that there is more blessing in giving than in receiving.