They say the only things you can guarantee in life are death and taxes. Well after the death of her husband Moira would have added bills to the list. Only God knew how hard she had tried to get a job, but the only ones she was qualified to do paid less than the pitiful pension she was entitled to.
She looked down the list again, decided it was too hard and made herself a cup of tea. The Christmas appeal was coming up this week, and Moira so desperately wanted to give something of value to the appeal. The Appeal Request was quite simple - Bring something for the homeless that shows God's love to them in a practical way. She wasn't homeless, but in her current situation she could more than sympathise with the struggles the homeless were going through. Moira knew God loved her and how much that fact had kept her sane through these difficult times, and if she was desperate for anything, it was to share that same love with others in a similar situation.
The last drop drained out of her cup of tea and she went back to the list of bills. Finally she worked out how to pay the bills and what she could buy for the appeal that was within her resources. Moira was content with her donation considering the circumstances, but wished that there was far more that she could have done.
She turned up at the church on the appointed Saturday with her Christmas Appeal donation. She stood in awe at the array of gifts that was already there from people who had quietly been coming all day to deliver their donations. There were hampers neatly wrapped up in cellophane that would keep her in food for a couple of weeks. There were clothes in various shapes and sizes. There were some non-essential items like party decorations and Christmas chocolates that she knew were way out of budget for many but the sort of thing they wish they could have. Quietly she placed the two tins of food and the Christmas cake she had baked over in a corner where they wouldn't look too out of place compared to the rest of the donations. She straightened the ribbon around the cake and made sure the words on the card - "With God's Love" - could be seen. Then she quietly walked out the door and back home.
Over to the side of the church un-noticed by Moira, were sitting Jesus and his supporters. They never said a word - they didn't have to. After Moira had left the building and they had watched her walk out of sight, Jesus spoke up.
"That is the most valuable gift of the whole lot. The others may have bigger price tags, but they were paid for out of people's spare cash. Moira's gift has come out of her grocery budget for the next week, out of her love for God."
Darryl Severn 1999
Copyright Darryl Severn 1999