|The beautiful girl in the middle is my mother, Jean Banks Wirth.|
Front left is Willa Mae Peach Davis, Upper right is Lucille Banks Sager holding Bob Peach.
Bottom right is Fred Banks.
Yesterday I was thinking about how so many people have had to cut back on their
Christmas giving this year. . . in terms of money spent
or number of physical gifts. . .or even how many people we give to.
I thought I'd share this story about my mother, Norma Jean (Banks)Wirth.
Mom came from a very large family and was raised during the depression.
They often had barely enough to make it.
Food was scarce. Her family lived beside the railroad tracks on the poorer side of town.
This was a blessing as the train cars would go by with their
loads of coal and potatoes, sometimes spilling bits of their
load along the tracks.
Mom and her siblings would gather what they could of what spilled along the tracks to
put food on the table and fuel in the fire.
Left to right Back row: Mother, ?, Fred Banks, John Peach
Front row: Roberta Banks, David Banks, Darlena Peach, Bob Peach, Hope Peach and ?.
Mom told us after Christmas the teachers would ask
the kids in the classrooms to stand up in front of the class and tell what they got for Christmas.
Mother always dreaded that day because they often just didn't get anything.
The other kids would tell about all these neat toys Santa left for them. . . and some of them
were mean kids that did bad things. . .Mom would wonder why Santa gave
them toys and not her because she'd tried to be good.
One year her uncle came over around Christmas and gave the her an old withered orange. . .
but that was a very precious gift to Mom. It was rare that she had fruit.
She always wold tell us about that orange while she explained to us the importance
of being grateful.
Willa Mae Peach with Mother -
the bike was Willa Mae's gift that she let Mom ride too.
Grampa Banks was a very hard working man.
He was always busy trying to keep his family afloat but times were just hard.
Grampa wasn't well educated so he had a limited field in which he could work.
Their very limited income helped them find a very valuable treasure. . .
Grampa found the "Body of Christ" when Mom was just a kid.
They didn't have money to go to a picture show or other means of entertainment. . .
so they went to a tent meeting being held by Bro. Frank Peach.
Although Grampa didn't have "things" to give his children, he had found the
"pearl of great price in the field" and shared it with his family.
Early in life Mom had to take a job and quit school.
She hated that. Mom was only allowed to finish the eighth grade. Mom had loved school.
She loved learning and continued to read books and study her whole life.
No one ever suspected she hadn't completed high school.
After being taken out of school, Mom worked in a laundry room.
She ironed clothes all day long in a hot steamy room.
It was hard work and she would be very tired when she finished.
Mom used her money to buy for her younger siblings and help out the folks.
She bought her own clothes, food and eventually rented a room above the laundry.
Her older sister, Lucille, had gone to live with the Peach family as a nanny to help with finances
when she was just a young girl.
Things like these were common during those "depression" years.
Mom later worked in a restaurant as a cook. At the time she was hired she couldn't really cook
anything. . . but she learned. While working there she met Daddy.
So, Mom said she was thankful for even the fact of having to quit school early.
She accepted it as part of God's design for her life.
If she hadn't quit school early and went to work, Dad would never have "found" her.
Since she was so much younger than he (if he had noticed her somewhere else) Dad would never have asked her out. . .
But there she was, a working girl and Daddy thought she must be closer to his age.
(She was actually ten years younger than he.)
You know the end of that story. . .they have five kids to validate it.
My point in writing this is that Mom worked hard because they didn't "have" enough.
She worked young and did without.
She didn't get any presents many years for Christmas.
What did that produce?
*A woman who was very grateful for the gifts she received in life.
*A woman who valued gifts and treated them as precious. . .she never said an unkind, unthoughtful word about a gift someone sacrificed to give to her.
Even if it wasn't something she was fond of the gift,
she was gracious enough to say something sweet.
Probably one of the most rude things a person can do is disregard a gift, it disregards the giver.
*A mother who realized the blessing of a good economy.
*A woman who appreciated a hard working husband. . . who kept food on the table. . .and nice clothes for the kids. . .and a home to live in.
*A woman who knew the "price" of giving.
Her hard times didn't make her bitter but better.
So, if you can't buy all you want this year for those you love. . .
the best Christmas gifts aren't toys or money. . .
not a big fancy trees or beautifully decorated houses. . .(although these things are nice). . .
but it 's the love that's given and the kind, thoughtful words spoken.
It's the kind, caring attitude you have when you take someone a drink or
wrap another blanket around them
if they're cold.
It's the songs you sing to a child while you rock them in your arms and the
stories you share with them of your life. . .
the time you take to listen to them as they express themselves.
Time is the very most valuable gift you can give your family.
Time with them. Time doing for them.
Fathers have to work, but when they are with their loved ones they should really "be there". . .not "off somewhere else in their mind". . .focus on your family.
When you're a kid you want your parents to be excited about what they do with you. . .
not acting like they begrudge every minute they spend taking you to the park or the time needed to listen while you play the piano, or play a game. . .etc.
Dad and Mom used to spread out a blanket on the ground and we'd look up at the clouds
deciding what they looked like. . .that was free but so much fun to a little kid.
By giving them your time, you show you value their person.
Don't spend your time with them focused on a cell phone. . .or a TV program. . .
instead think. . .what would they want me to do? What would make them happy?
How much does it cost to say a kind word? How much does it cost to listen to what another has to say? How much does it cost to rejoice with someone who is happy or to
mourn with someone who is heart broken?
How much does it cost to encourage someone who feels down?
What about helping someone by opening a door. . .or clearing off a table. . .
We can still give the best gifts if we are willing to take the TIME to do it.
God have his son.
Jesus gave his life.
We gave . . .?
It's our turn to give something of value to the world.
Jesus will help us. . .if we let Him.