Sparkman High School isn’t the place I think of first when I am informed of a need in the community. Typically teenagers are more concerned with their list of wants than they are anyone else’s needs. On this particular day, I was about to find out that this teenager was not so typical.
She met one of our students at the House of the Harvest Christmas Party. They hadn’t met before. She ended up being his host through the toy station. The first thing you ask when you are playing Santa at a Christmas Party? “What do you want for Christmas?”
She asks. He replies. “A jacket.”
A jacket. Not a football. Not a LEGO set. Not a playstation, a phone, or a tablet. A jacket.
What child asks for a jacket for Christmas? To be at a community Christmas party and walk into a gym covered with toys, and ask for a jacket? For that to be what comes out of a child’s mouth in that moment...astounds me.
We had spent months planning this party. Months getting all these toys together from all the various places, sorted, and organized and delivered to Madison Cross Roads Elementary for this event. Months. Months of toys. Lots of toys. I was sick of toys. They were everywhere. And the boy just wants a jacket.
It’s funny how God works. That boy wouldn’t get a jacket that night. Jackets hadn’t been on my radar. But every child was fixed up with a host as they went through the toy section, and somehow, this particular boy ended up with the teenager from Sparkman High. And she was determined to make sure that boy got his jacket.
She remembered his name. She remembered that he needed a jacket. She was so moved by that little boy asking her for a jacket, that she had to do something about it.
We get those feelings a lot. Usually too much time goes by. It drifts to the back of our mind somewhere and then gradually disappears. Good intentions...all for naught. I am guilty. I fear it’s disobedience to the Spirit of God. Does the Spirit of God move our hearts to give people jackets? Seems relatively irrelevant for what is on His “to-do” list, right? I don't think so. Maybe that jacket is how a little boy could understand love. Maybe it’s how he will relate to God one day in his future. Maybe God is using this moment to teach him how to give. And not just jackets. Smiles. Hugs. Pats on the back. God delivers through the smallest of things. Even just a small cup of water. Jesus talked about that.
It’s been two weeks since that Christmas Party. First of the year. School just started back. It’s a distant memory already after the break. I am walking down the hall when a proud mother calls my name. She says, “I need you to make good on this.” I said, “I will try.” She hands me two jackets. Her daughter bought with her own money. I told you she wasn’t a typical teenager. There were a lot of Santas in that gymnasium that night. God picked the right one for one little boy. And he won’t be cold again.
Jesus said it best. “I was hungry and you fed Me. I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited Me in. I needed clothes and you clothed Me. I was sick and you looked after Me. I was in prison and you visited Me...whatever you did for the least of these, you did for Me.”
On December 19, 2018 at Madison Cross Roads Elementary, Jesus was a cold little boy needing a jacket. One of His sheep delivered. That’s worth the Father’s inheritance.