In his autobiography, Reflections on My Call to Preach, Fred Craddock reflects on his favorite Christmas memory.
Perhaps my best Christmas was the one that seemed the worst until some years later when I learned the mystery of it. The Depression was at its worst; the family purse was empty. I had overheard Momma say to Daddy that there would be no Christmas. There was no way. And yet Christmas morning our shoe boxes, set in a row anticipating Santa, held their annual goodies: an apple in each, a tangerine in each, raisins still on the stem in each, a box of sparklers in each, a packet of Black Cat fire crackers in each. We were in business. Merry Christmas! How did it happen? I had the answer about ten years later. Momma said Daddy used a pair of pliers to pull one of his molars. That molar had a gold crown, put there by an Army dentist during World War I. Daddy removed the crown and went to town where he sold the gold for enough to provide gifts from Santa Claus. Daddy never spoke of it and as long as he lived I kept his secret.
Beautiful. Truly beautiful.
It occurs to me that we are most like our Heavenly Father when we are willing to give of ourselves for the joy of our children, be it a big sacrifice or a small one. Regardless, the sacrifice is always big to the one for whom it was made. Furthermore, all love-fueled sacrifices point in their selflessness to the ultimate love-fueled sacrifice: the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.