When Junk Brought Joy


God delights in the one whose heart is in his gift. –2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP

It was late fall, 1978. My husband worked at the local scrapyard—his hours dependent on the weather—I was a stay-at-home mom, and we were poor.

We wanted to put some nice presents under the tree for our two-year-old son, but, with Dean bringing home around $100 a week, how could we afford even one? Putting food on the table and paying the bills on time were higher priorities.

Then someone dumped a load of junk at the scrapyard—a load that included a couple of well-used, rusty, but still sturdy, Tonka toys. Dean brought them home to our second-story apartment and set up Santa’s workshop in our unheated attic.

When Christmas morning dawned, a refurbished dump truck and front-end loader sat under our tree.

Over the next few years, my husband repurposed other toys that had been discarded at the junkyard, including a motorhome and a three-wheeled pedal tractor.

When our second child, a daughter, came along, we were still poor. I put my sewing machine to use and made her a Raggedy Ann doll. Another year I crocheted her a stuffed panda from Dazzleaire yarn. That panda grew up with her, and I presented it to her—minus the stuffing because she’d plucked it all out—on her wedding day.

After nearly 40 years, those Christmases are the ones that warm my heart the most.

Back then Christmas wasn’t about the money because we had none. But somehow we found a way to give. And it was more than a Tonka toy or homemade stuffed doll under the tree. It was something intangible—the gift of time, talent, and love—a piece of our hearts.

We may have been poor in money, poor in worldly possessions, but we were rich in love.

Our hearts overflowed with it. It infused our handmade gifts, gave energy to every swipe of sandpaper, every stroke of the paintbrush, every stitch of thread and yarn—and multiplied back to us on Christmas morning when our children exclaimed in delight as they opened their gifts.

One of the afghans I made for a Christmas gift

This year I organized my crochet supplies, bought a cartful of yarn, and got to work. Since mid-October, I’ve made eight granny-square Christmas stockings, two afghans, two messy bun hats with matching headbands and infinity scarves, and one pair of boot cuffs. When I couldn’t find a pattern to match what I envisioned for a reticule (a small purse), I crafted one of my own.

And a long-lost, deep-rooted, almost forgotten joy fills my heart and overflows onto everything around me.

You see, the joy of giving explodes when the heart is in the gift. Joy, like love, doesn’t divide. It multiplies.

Thank You, Lord God, for helping me to rediscover true joy. Amen.

Read and meditate on Luke 2:1–20 and Matthew 2:1–12 

© 2017, Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

TO MY READERS: May God’s peace, joy, and love fill your hearts and homes this Christmas and throughout the New Year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.