Last week you stole a car from my friends, a car with all their Christmas presents in it. I do not know if you needed the car, the Christmas presents, or both. Now you have them. My friends, whom you took them from, do not. It is highly likely you will remain anonymous and these items will never be returned. Here is my message to you:
I am sorry you are in such great need this season that you felt compelled to steal from another family who is also experiencing need. The gifts in their car, for their children, were able to be purchased because of the generosity of others. My friends have fallen on hard times. Dad is a veteran who is currently between jobs. Mom is working full time to make ends meet as they care for their three children. Friends of theirs are stepping up again to make sure the gifts will be replaced in time for Christmas. I sincerely hope you have friends and family in your life to turn to when you are in need.
I expect you realize that stealing a car and Christmas gifts from my friends has left them feeling angry and vulnerable. It would be easy to want to get revenge, to get even, to make you pay. But harboring anger in their hearts only hurts them. And that’s not worth it. So after the shock and emotional pain have lessened, they will choose to forgive you, as we all will, and hope that you will also find the freedom that comes from forgiveness.
I hope you understand that you have provided my friends with a vivid opportunity to display an incredible lesson in front of their children. What lesson, you may ask? Life is not about things. Yes, we need things-things like cars sometimes, things like coats in the winter and food on the table. And yes, sometimes we even want things – things to put under the Christmas tree, things to make someone feel special or even for us to enjoy personally. But in the greater picture, all of this will fall apart and be thrown away. The only “things” we can keep forever are the people in our lives. And my friends will learn, in a new way, that having people they love around them means more than anything else they could have this Christmas. Much like the Grinch, who stole everything from the Whos in Whoville, may you wake up Christmas morning and realize this day is about so much more than possessions.
Christmas is about the people we love, no doubt. But, dear Christmas thief, Christmas is ultimately about one Person, the baby Jesus, born in a stable, who lived on this earth, died for our sins, and rose again from the dead. He now lives in Heaven and offers to all of us the free gift of salvation from our sins and an eternity with Him. In fact, when Jesus was hanging on a cross over 2000 years ago, a thief hung next to him. That thief begged Jesus for mercy. And Jesus, recognizing his heart of repentance and faith, gave him the promise of Paradise, even that very day. During this Christmas season, there is no greater gift you could possibly receive. I pray this gift, the best gift of all, will be yours.