Surprised by Generosity

Not a Christmas goes by without thinking about my grandparents (Fred and Margaret). Every Christmas Eve we would gather at their home, eat a great meal and anxiously wait for it to get dark (time to open presents). My sister and I would comment at least 10 times during the meal “I think it’s dark outside!!”


My grandparents were super generous, delighting in the volume of presents given. Grandpa was a self-employed carpenter and Grandma stayed at home. They earned a modest income and Christmas gifts came from money they had saved during the year. Uncle Freddie who lived with them grinned ear to ear as the most presents were set before him. Freddie had Down’s Syndrome and was just as excited as we were, even more so at simple gifts (like Brut aftershave…).

With every present my mom would comment “Oh, you shouldn’t have done that Fred and Margaret, that is so sweet of you…” We were thinking “Oh yes you should have, thanks!!”

The highlight of the evening was after presents had been opened, my grandpa would sneak back into his bedroom. He would come out with a handful of Christmas cards addressed to each person, with green stuff inside. It was always just a bit more than you’d expect. My dad would smile, shake his head and say “Rabbit, I can’t believe you.” That is what my dad called him, still not sure why 🙂

We would open our cards to see a $5, or a $20, or later a $50. Always more than we’d ever had in our possession. Grandpa was beaming and nodding his head, more excited than at any other time I can remember. That was his way of saying “I love you and you know I’m taking care of you…”

Many years have gone by. Grandpa, Grandma, Freddie and my Dad have passed away and are with Jesus. Many times God reminds me He is just like my Grandpa in that He gets a kick out of surprising me with His generosity. It can come in many forms, but after all the presents have been opened, He still has a surprise… He gets a kick out of blessing us.

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 NRSV

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