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Sharing The True Joy at Christmas
By Joel Osteen - Dec 17, 2010
One of my favorite memories about Christmas growing up was watching my father's generosity everywhere he went. As a boy, my father didn't have much. His childhood wasn't very joyful, but he seemed determined to share as much as he could later in life. His boyhood Christmases were pretty sparse by most standards; but out of his imperfect, childhood holidays, he created better days for others.

Dad often told us that the highlight of his childhood Christmases was receiving the food basket donated every year to the poorest families in his town. He said the turkey and fixings in that basket provided one of the best meals he'd have the entire year. Because the Christmas basket was such a blessing in his childhood, my father created a holiday basket program at Lakewood Church that fed hundreds of families each year. Everyone in our family would help our church members prepare and hand out the baskets. Oftentimes, more people would line up to receive baskets than had signed up for them; but somehow, we always had enough to give a basket to everyone. We thought of it as our little Christmas miracle.

As a poor child who grew up during the Depression, My father had empathy for the needy and a drive to help others. People seemed to sense it, too. I can't tell you how many times a stranger came out of nowhere and walked up to Dad as if guided to him by a heavenly hand. I was about fifteen years old traveling with my father overseas during Christmas break when I witnessed one of those encounters. We were in a small airport terminal with a thatched roof on an island in the Philippines. I was walking back from the concession stand when I found my father talking to a young guy with long hair and a backpack. They were having a deep conversation, which wasn't unusual because Dad liked people in general and enjoyed hearing their stories. The next thing I knew, my father was reaching for his wallet and handed the young man a wad of cash—a couple of hundred dollars. When I asked him about it later, he said, "Well, we got to talking, and he told me he was trying to get back to the States but had miscalculated how much money he needed and was stuck in the airport. So I gave him enough to get him home to his parents for the holidays. I just kept thinking, what if that were my son or daughter, wouldn't I want someone to help them?"

That's the way my father lived. He was a generous man with a giving heart. He shared whatever he had everywhere he went and discovered the true joy of Christmas.

This year, I encourage you to discover the true joy of Christmas by sharing what you have with others. Look for ways to be a blessing because when you give to others, you open the door for God's supernatural blessing in your own life in return.
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