This Too I Shall Give by Ruth Bell Graham

BGRG 1969

The following is an excerpt from Ruth Bell Graham’s 1965 talk at the Junior League Christmas Luncheon in Asheville, N.C.

homeplace tree

In a little town in Florida there was an unpretentious home for small, unwanted boys. Having little of this world’s goods, the kindly matron made it up to them the best way she knew how. She loved them, mothered them, fed them, spanked them, taught them to love God, to read their Bibles (those old enough to read, that is), to say their prayers. She laughed with them, listened sympathetically to their troubles (even while she stirred the soup), made her corrections few, her exhortations brief, and loved them some more.

One day – this is a true story – a well-to-do lady from a distant city came to see about adopting a boy. Everyone was pleased and happy for the fortunate little boy who was going to have such a fine home – such a successful man for a father and such a beautifully dressed, bejeweled and befurred lady for a mother.

The lady smiled down at the small boy and asked, “Do you have a bicycle?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Well,” she promised, “we will buy you one. And have you roller skates?”

“An old pair,” he replied.

“We’ll buy you a lovely new pair. And tell me, have you a transistor radio?”

The boy looked puzzled. “I haven’t got any radio at all,” he said.

“Well, never mind, we’ll get you one.”

Still puzzled, the small boy studied her solemnly – then blurted: “Please, ma’am, if that’s all you’re going to give me, I’d rather stay here.”

This is the Christmas season – a time for the giving – and the receiving, of gifts. So it has been – since the Wise Men brought their gold and frankincense and myrrh to the Christ Child.

How can we give what we do not have?

How can we purchase what is priceless?

For these are the gifts of the heart and of the spirit – timeless and eternal.

All I know is there are those I love who long for (and desperately need) these gifts this Christmas – and my spiritual bank account is zero and there is nothing in savings.

Do you feel that way? Or perhaps you don’t even care anymore. Perhaps love is dead. Perhaps the children are already beyond your influence. Perhaps there are no children. Something has happened and there is no real joy or meaning to life any more. The most you look for is some temporary form of escape.

You can’t give. There’s nothing left to give. In fact, there’s no one left to give to.

Listen.

What’s Christmas all about anyway?

Wasn’t there a death, an emptiness, a need? Wasn’t there a Love somewhere – infinite, eternal, unchangeable – a Love that gave His only Son?

That’s what Christmas is all about.

God coming to earth in the person of the Christ child to do for you and me what we could not possibly do for ourselves. He lived among us and shared our problems for thirty-three years. You haven’t a problem – and I haven’t a problem – that He doesn’t understand from close personal experience. He spent his entire life meeting human needs, ending it on a cross to deal once and for all with man’s greatest need – the sin problem. Just before returning to heaven the risen Christ gave us this glorious promise: “Lo, I am with you always.”

“Mommie, “ a small child asked one Christmas, “isn’t this Jesus’ birthday?”

“Yes,” replied the mother.

“Then why,” the child wondered, “why do we give presents to everybody else?”

Why?

Because the Christian world remembers – however confusedly, however commercially – that this is the Advent season, a time for joyous giving.

But we have confused the real gifts with the material ones. We have our price tags mixed.

Still the small child’s question is valid. What can we give, who have so little to offer?

Ourselves.

Remember – that’s what God loves so much. All He asks this Christmas is you. You with your failures, your sins, your problems, your fears. You.

This is Christmas – the real meaning of it.

God loving; searching; giving Himself – to us.

Man needing; receiving; giving himself – to God.

Redemptions’ glorious exchange of gifts! Without which we cannot live; without which we cannot give those we love anything of lasting value.

This is the meaning of Christmas – the wonder and glory of it.

This, too, I shall give.

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14 Comments

  1. ammi says:

    You have written my struggles and confusions. Thank you for the encouragement and focus.

  2. shelia shackelford says:

    This is a great story. The greatest gift anyone could give this season is their heart to him.shelia sha

  3. Lucille A SALLSTROM-BARRERA says:

    I think the little boy being adopted was smarter than adults. He just wanted love and a family giving themselves. So wonderful.

  4. A most incredible writing by the dearly, departed Ruth Graham. In my opinion, this should be read by every adult and older teens. In fact, in many homes, where all could understand this great concept…it could become traditional to gather everyone around and read this message, year after year…just as Luke 2 is a familiar affirmation of Christ’s birth…that one reads aloud, as all others gather quietly..

  5. Rhonda Bresenhan says:

    Absolutely love this!♥

  6. I is a beutifual story I have watced billy graham since I was a teenager and I loved his preaching then and I still do now I have older grand kids and great grandkids god bless blly graham Gladys bowers from cabot ar

  7. glenda pilcher says:

    We, Mankind have put too much emphasis on material things .The material things will fade away but Gods love never will he gave us the ultimate gift his only begotten son Jesus.Merry Christmas Mr. Graham.

  8. Rebecca Randazzo says:

    How easy we forget how badly we need Christ no matter how well off or how good you feel. Thank you for the reminder. A reminder we need every single day in a world so lost. Amen.

  9. Faith says:

    Blessed Redeemer! Thank you for caring so deeply for us that you would be willing to be wounded for our transgressions… to be bruised for our iniquities to be chastised so we could receive peace… and to receive stripes so that we could be healed! Lord, thank you for giving your life for us! What treasure is inside of you… and the gift of yourself you give to the world! If only they would receive your love! If only they would receive you! They would receive God’s Best! I love your Jesus, thank you!

  10. cleofe b quibote says:

    I pray I can give more of myself to the Lord this Christmas for He gave me His all that I may be forgiven of my sins, that I may have life eternal starting now while I still yet live. Praise You Lord Jesus.

  11. bernadette says:

    this is beautiful , most of the time we are so caught up in the materail things that we forgot why are we celebrating ,
    this christmas i will be receiving my friends over at my home and i was thinking to do the exchanged of gifts , but i think it will be much more meaningful to do the exchanged of friendshipsand just to chare the love ,and to appreciates one another ,to remember why are we celebrating ,what is the meaning of christmas

  12. bernadette says:

    this is beautiful , most of the time we are so caught up in the materal things that we forgot why are we celebrating ,
    this christmas i will be receiving my friends over at my home and i was thinking to do the exchanged of gifts , but i think it will be much more meaningful to do the exchanged of friendships and just to share the love ,and to appreciates one another ,to remember why are we celebrating ,what is the meaning of christmas

  13. Christy says:

    This was awesome and oh so true. May our culture of today remember the wisdom of yesterday. Thank you so much for sharing.

  14. Karen says:

    Wonderful message. Love it!