I was nine years old and the depression was still in full force. We came from Alabama and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in a little row home, which my father managed to rent. It was getting near Christmas and my dear dad had nothing to spend for Christmas for his five children ages 1 to 9. In desperation, he went to the bank to try to persuade them that he was a safe risk for a small loan. He explained his predicament, no job, no collateral, and 5 small children with Christmas approaching.
As he should have known, the banker would have to decline his request, but he had an alternative offer for my dad to consider. He explained that if dad could postpone celebrating Christmas a day everything would be reduced in the stores. Then he would only need half the amount he was requesting. He said if this was agreeable, he would approve the loan for a smaller amount.
Of course my dad gratefully accepted his offer. That Christmas eve, after we were all in bed, the downstairs front door sprung open. There was a lot of noise and my father rushed down the stairs to see what was happening. I followed a few minutes later and saw him sitting on that bottom step with his head in his hands. I couldn’t understand why he was weeping.
When I reached the bottom step, I saw no one but the hall was lined with boxes. There were boxes of food, clothing, and candy. There was a riding fire engine and a four-foot folding white paneled dollhouse. We didn’t belong to a church and the friends we had were as poor as we were. My dad returned to the bank to repay the loan. The banker surprised my dad by telling him that there was no record of this loan.
I only understood that Christmas experience years later when Jesus became my Lord and Savior. How blessed some of us are to see God’s love working in and through His children. John 3:16 is where this love story begins and those unknown servants were practicing I John 3:16. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, how He laid down His life for us: so that we ought to lay down our lives for others.”