A whole lot of people have the wrong idea when it comes to the meaning of Christmas. Now when I think of Christmas I think about love, kindness, giving and sharing. But so many people in this day only think that it is about receiving when it is truly about giving from the kindness of your heart.

Over 2000 years ago a baby boy was born in a tiny manger in Bethlehem. From the very moment that he came to this earth he gave. This blessed baby was named Jesus. He gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, he healed the lame and even raised the dead. The biggest sacrifice that he gave was is very own life when he died on the cross so that we could be forgiven. He then laid in the tomb for three days and rose on the third day to give us eternal life. His birth, life and death were all about giving.

John 15:13

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” 

This Christmas story is about two very different families here in Troy, Mo who opened up their homes to unwanted children. In the year 1854 the streets of New York City were brimming with homeless and orphaned children. With only the clothes on their backs they wandered the streets and spent their nights foraging through trash cans hoping to find a small morsel of food, some were even lucky enough to catch a rat or two for their meal. 

It came to a crisis point because there were so many of these children that city officials didn’t know what to do. But a social worker named Charles Loring Brace had an idea. He decided to put these children on trains headed west so that families outside of the city might have a chance to adopt them. So, that is exactly what they did! Between the years 1854 and 1929 more than 250,000 orphans were shipped from New York City out west.

Now you might ask yourself, ‘What does that have to do with Troy, Missouri?’ Well I’ll tell you. On February 25th 1910 one of those trains stopped right here in little old Troy. There were two families who stepped up and each took a child. Unfortunately in life not everything would turn out as we would like for it to. While one of these stories is a blessing the other is not. One family wanted to give the gift of love while the other wanted to simply receive the gift of free labor.

Colossians 3: 14

“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”

Philip Kuhne a machinist and his wife Lenora took in four-year-old John M. K. Monahan. They already had a child five-year-old Camille, but they made room in their home and in their hearts for one more. John took their last name and they changed his first name from John to Philip. The family took in this young boy and raised him as their own in a home full of love and tenderness. This was the story of giving and receiving love from a child that had never known love before.

When you give, don’t expect anything in return, but God will bless you for giving.

Will A. Howell a farmer and his wife Daisy decided to open up their home to a seven-year-old named Theodore Smith, but sadly he was not lucky like John was. The exact reasons are unknown, but after some time it was discovered that Theodore was not living with his adopted parents. He was found some years later living in the next town, Theodore and another runaway boy were found living in an abandoned house half-starved. Details are scant and after this account he seems to just disappear into time.

This Christmas when you gather around your tree rather than thinking on what you can get from other people, try thinking on the joy that you can give instead. Open your hearts and maybe even your homes to those children out there who have no family to love them.

This is Norman McFadden wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


2 Corinthians 9:6

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”

Acts 20:35

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Deuteronomy 10: 18

“He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.”

If you know any urban legends, folk stories, haunted barns or interesting history call Norm at (636) 233-6878.

For more works by Norman Mcfadden check out Polstonhouse.com.