Christmas the Second Time Around

 

It had been the worst six months of my life. I would not have been more surprised if someone had taken a shot at me or in some other fashion sought to take my life.  It had all started when I decided to get a second job and make a better living for my family. I was pastor of a small rural church that provided just about enough money for me to pay the utilities, rent, and purchase food for my family of five. A friend offered to sell me his furniture store as he was leaving the area and could not run it successfully from his new location. I looked at the books, examined his built in costs, sales, and decided that I could, if all continued as well, make enough to pay the debt that I would incur in purchasing the store and have about as much left over as I was making at the church.  This would, on paper, double my salary.The bank also looked at the books, offered to loan me the money to pay him, so I was off and running as a ‘business man’. About this same time a relative of mine, who had been a salesman for a number of years needed a job so it seemed a natural for me to put him in charge of the furniture store, so I was officially in business. Since the entire higher price items like appliances and televisions were placed in the store on a floor plan, meaning, I paid for them as I sold them, we filled the store with a wonderful inventory and it looked great.I continued my job as pastor and left the store in my relative’s hands. The inventory moved, appliances and televisions became our biggest sellers and in all appearance we were making some real money. What I didn’t know and what it took me six months to discover was that my manager, remember he is a close relative, was not paying the floor plan on any of the items sold. He pocketed the money. One day after about six months of business when the floor plan company came to run an inventory, several thousands of dollars was discovered missing. Suddenly my profitable new business had me behind the eight ball and I discovered myself $10,000 plus dollars in debt.  Debt that was due at once. Long story short, I closed the store, took a job teaching school, and promised the floor plan company that I would assign them all of my check except the tithe until the debt was paid in full.  Realizing this was the best way they had to recover their loss they accepted my offer and I spent the next twelve months working an extra job just to break even for the last six months. The banker and others suggested that I take bankruptcy, however I felt it was my foolishness that had created the problem and I had a moral obligation to pay every penny owed. It was in the middle of this burden that Christmas came and we realized that we had no money, none, with which to buy Christmas. We talked with the kids and they took it as well as most six to ten year old kids would take canceling Christmas. Since I had not shared this with anyone in my family there was no way to explain to them that we would be without Christmas gifts for the annual family get together. On the last day of school before the Christmas break, many of the children gave me gifts as their special teacher.  With these gifts and some given from friends we were able to ‘re-gift’ the family at our annual Christmas party.  Then on the Sunday before Christmas the church gave me $150.00 as a Christmas present and the top three items on each of the children’s’ list became a reality.  We shopped on Christmas Eve, placed the gifts under the tree and our Christmas the second time around became a beautiful day in our eyes. I never did believe in re-gifting, but now I know there are times when it is the best Christmas of all. O, what did we receive, we each received a warm heart and our family and friends never knew how broke we were that Christmas.  Also our children had a wonderful Christmas. How could you ask for more? Remember Christmas is not about getting and giving, but about the greatest gift of all.  The gift of salvation from our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Ivan

 

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Published in: on December 12, 2013 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment  

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