Soap On A RopeSoap-on-a-rope and man size Kleenex. These are the most memorable Christmas gifts I received when I was 17 years old. In fact, the memory of them still elicits a strong emotion in me. That year was a particularly challenging year for me.

I was blessed to grow up living next door to my grandparents, Opa and Oma Kress. Their home was always a refuge for me. I learned what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ Jesus from my Oma. Jesus was her best friend, so I wanted Him to be my best friend, too.  In February of that year, my grandfather succumbed to cancer. Five months later my grandmother died as the result of a motor vehicle accident. I felt the loss of my grandmother in deep places, places I had never known before.

That year the family gathered for Christmas at my uncle’s home. My cousins’ grandparents, the Stones, joined us. I was surprised to find two packages for me under the tree with tags that read, “From Grandpa and Grandma Stone.” I was surprised to find these as I had never received a Christmas gift from them in the past. I opened the two packages and found my soap-on-a-rope and the man size Kleenex. It felt so good that someone remembered me. Grandma Stone said, “I wish your grandparents were here, but we want you to know that we love you, too.” I was overcome with emotion. I hugged them both, but could not utter a word. [Even as I type this, tears have welled up in my eyes.]

There is no better time of year to consider how we might be a blessing to someone else. Look around for people who are hurting, ones who are in need. A simple gift and a caring word can have more impact than you will ever know. Sharing Christ Jesus’ love in a tangible way may not only bless the recipient, but also you…and the Lord.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.“ – John 13:34 (NIV)

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2 (NIV)