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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

With the turmoil about taxes in Washington, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about finances.

My father grew up poor and lived in the coal fields of West Virginia. My mother grew up in a place called Camel’s Creek. They told us stories of how little they had about this time each year, perhaps to curb the greed and avarice of our hearts. My father told one story about a time in his life when the family barely had enough to eat. On Christmas Eve his father and mother presented the children with an orange and a piece of candy. You could see the fire in his eyes as he talked about it.

Once, when my father was in elementary school, he was enamored with the opportunity afforded to those students who could purchase a harmonica. The teacher was giving lessons to any child that could come up with the 5 cents it cost to buy one. My father asked his mother, pleaded with her, but with tears in her eyes she told him they didn’t have the extra nickel to begin his musical career. My father could have been Buddy Greene.

Years later, in hopes that it would stop his telling that sad story, I bought him a harmonica. He laughed and smiled, but there was something sad in his eyes as he looked at it. I don’t think he ever played it.

Through the years, we’ve talked as a family about cutting back at Christmas. Not spending as much. How commercial everything has become. The overspending and the crowds steal the joy and all that. This year, I think we’re actually going to do it. This year, I don’t think we have a choice. There is fear and uncertainty around us. There are questions about the fiscal climate in our country and what will happen in another recession.

When things get tight financially, you’re forced to make decisions. The definition of what you “want” and what you “need” gets more clear. And that’s not a bad exercise to go through, particularly those of faith who believe God is the provider.

Every time we ask people to call on Chris Fabry Live about their most memorable Christmas, I never hear, “There was this Christmas when the presents were piled so high and everybody got a computer and an iPod Touch and all the toys we could play with.” No, they usually begin the story like this: “I remember a really hard year for our family because my father had lost his job and we had to move out of our house and live with some relatives.” Or they’ll talk about losing a family member on top of the financial struggle. And then they’ll mention some kind thing, some generous neighbor, some anonymous person from church who delivered food or a toy that showed someone remembered, someone was thinking of them. They mattered in the world.

When times are good and everyone has plenty, it’s easy to forget the truth about ourselves. We gauge our worth by what we have, what we drive, how much is under the tree. But the fiscal cliff jars us into the realization that we are fragile. Wealth and savings can be spent or taxed or taken away. There are some things that can’t be taken. Some things that can’t be bought. And some things we would never have enough to pay for, no matter how hard we try.

This is the hidden message of Christmas. The lights and trees and Santa obscure it. You and I were so poor, unable to pay the debt we owed. We were spiritually barren, outcast, with no hope of ever having a relationship with a holy God. We had gone over the spiritual cliff.

But someone decided that you mattered. Someone remembered you. Thought of you. A generous, loving God decided to give a gift unparalleled. Himself. God wrapped in human flesh. Human holiness. A child who would live perfection so that he could give himself freely as a sacrifice to absorb the penalty and then give us that perfection. Something we didn’t earn or deserve. A gift.

This is the story of Christmas. We didn’t have a nickel to give God. So he gave everything for us. 

2 comments:

Ana Cristina Ventura said...

Oh Chris Fabry, you always touch my heart! May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Anonymous said...

Reading your last sentence reminded me. The other day I was musing on that truth, and the old Joan Baez folksong came to my mind. The refrain was, "But I was nothing to him, but he was the world to me". But there was a time in my life when God was, relatively speaking, nothing to [me], but I was the world to [Him}! The realization made me catch my breath! Quickly followed by the truth, "God so loved the world..." Me!!! Wow!!!