While most of us were asleep this morning, Jerry Hatcher, Jr., got up early and put on his “fancy clothes.” At his request, his dad drove him to one of our hospitals. Upon arrival at 7:11 a.m., Jerry Jr. tucked a wad of cash in his pocket—cash that his parents had earmarked for Jerry Jr.’s Christmas gifts—and headed straight to the cafeteria.
This young boy, in his black vest and trousers, was on a mission. A mission to bring cheer to families with sick children. After almost losing his baby brother to illness this year, all Jerry Jr. wanted for Christmas was to give back to the hospital that helped save him. So, for more than five hours on this Christmas Eve, he hid behind our cash registers. And each time someone pulled out a wallet, he pulled cash from his pocket, said, “Merry Christmas,” and ran back to his hiding spot. Some responded with tears. Others were speechless. And the mother of one little boy too weak to come downstairs called him her Christmas Hero.
2020 has been a rough year for most everyone in varying arenas of life. Some have lost loved ones to Covid, cancer, and other illnesses. Some have lost gainful employment and fallen into financial hardships. Depression and anxiety have soared beyond reason. People of differing political parties are finding it difficult to live amicably. 2020 has certainly been a rough year. Jerry Jr. faced a hard year as well.
Yet, he determined in his heart and mind to make a positive difference, despite the trials and troubles of the year. Jerry Hatcher, Jr. made a difference. Maybe only for a few in one small corner of a hospital cafeteria, but to those few, Jerry Hatcher, Jr. was their Christmas hero.
Jesus Christ is the true Christmas hero. The King of the Universe, born of a virgin, in a manger. Why? To bring the greatest gift of all to you and me, the gift of eternal life. Without this gift, we have condemned ourselves to an eternity of suffering in a lake of fire. But accepting this gift of eternal life with God from God is the greatest gift of all.
If a young boy, Jerry, Jr., can have such a rejuvenated heart following a tough year that he gave his Christmas money away to strangers to brighten their Christmas in a hospital, what is stopping you and me? There is still time. What can you do for those who have kept this country going in 2020? Think of first responders, farmers, workers who have been laid off or lost income due to closures and shutdowns. Perhaps someone has touched your life, caring for your loved one or you. Reach into your pocket of gratefulness, gift those people, and say Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to you and your family and may God grant you a loving memorable Christmas day.
George Yates is a Church Health Strategist and coach partnering with pastors, churches, individuals, and organizations, assisting patrons in becoming effective in fulfilling their God-given purpose.