Monday, December 18, 2006

“Jordan, please don’t kick the box.” I stifled a sigh of exasperation as I said the words, irritated at having to remind the little boy yet again that the noise was a distraction.

It was the last rehearsal before the annual Christmas play, put on by the children of our church for as many years as I could remember. This year, I’d volunteered to direct the presentation. I’d done it in Christmas’ past, but enough time had gone by to allow my memory to lapse and make me forget what a trial it could be working with small children. Still, I was beginning to feel the pressure of corralling twenty kids and make them appear as little angels for their parents.

“Can someone sit by Jordan and make sure he behaves?” I tried not to let the words appear harsh, but with only fifteen minutes to go before the presentation, I was more than a little stressed.

“I’ll do it,” a volunteer said.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I turned my attention to the soloists. Forty-five minutes later, the production over and the applause given, I felt a tug on my bright red Christmas sweater.

“Miss Lisa—”

“I’m sorry, Jordan. Can you hang on for just one minute? I’ve got to give the invitation cards to Pastor. I’ll be right back, okay sweetie?” I rushed to catch up with our Pastor who was headed toward his office.

“It went well, Lisa. Thanks for all your hard work,” Pastor said.

We chatted for a moment, excited over the positive response the musical received. Afterward, several people caught me in the hall, and parents stopped to exclaim over how much they enjoyed the play. Several held up camcorders and promised to make me copies. In the excitement, I forgot all about Jordan. That is, until the volunteer who kindly sat beside Jordan to keep him from kicking the box he sat on walked up. With a kind look, she held out a ragged red bag that had probably seen several Christmas seasons.

“Here you go,” she said. “It’s from Jordan. His grandmother had to pick him early, so he couldn’t stay for the party. She said to tell you thank you.”

I took the bag, fingers trembling at my thoughtlessness. Jordan didn’t have parents, at least none that I knew of. He lived with a grandmother and a handful of cousins in a tiny little house on the outskirts of town. How could this sweet woman possibly have afforded a Christmas present?

But the gift wasn’t from Jordan’s grandmother. It was from Jordan. Inside was candle, half burned, with a crack on the side. Next to it was a card, written in Jordan’s childish script.

“Miss Lisa, thank you for doing our play. I like to hear you sing.”

Tears flooded my eyes. In all of the uproar, Jordan alone actually stopped to hear the music.

Now as you’ve probably guessed, Jordan is not his real name. I’ve changed it protect his identity. But the thoughtfulness of this one small child is real, and so is the change that his precious gift wrought upon my heart. Jordan’s candle sits on my desk, serving as a symbol of how much I have to be thankful for, but also to remind me that my Heavenly Father’s gift is something to be shared not only at Christmas, but all the year through.

Thank you, Jordan. I will always treasure your gift.


Ane Mulligan said...

Funny how the Lord always sends a reminder of what's important, huh?

Glad the production went well, Lisa.

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