Jesus at My Front Door

December 16, 2009 | 47 comments

He showed up unexpectedly on our front doorstep last night, just before supper.

Scott opened the door, and a man stepped in, stamping his feet on the rug. I was in the basement, but could hear the stomping and the voices, and I could feel the zero-degree night rushing in with our visitor.

“I need to give this to Jennifer,” the man said, and I recognized his voice.

He sounded urgent. Was everything OK? I took the steps two a time to see. This bundled visitor and my husband were standing on the front rug, and he unfolded a yellow slip of paper.

On the paper were 28 names. He showed me the list, and pointed with a gloved finger. My name was among the 28.

He handed me a gift card and read from the yellow paper. He told me I had to take the gift card to Dordt College, the college where I teach journalism. Still reading, he added: “You’re supposed to give this to someone and tell the person, ‘God cares for you, and so do I.'”

He looked up from his paper, and I stumbled over words.

“I’m supposed to, … what? Who do I give it to? Who do I tell them it’s from?”

He answered and shook his head: “I don’t know who. I just know that you’re supposed to give it to someone at Dordt.”

And the name came right away, in that Spirit voice that can’t be heard audibly but booms within the soul. I knew.

“I will do that,” I answered. “I know who the person is.”

And he nodded. He knew what it meant for the names to come right away, because he’d heard names, too. That’s why he had come to this country door, stepping over high snow-drifts to ring the bell.

He knew that it was more blessed to give than to receive, but he didn’t want those who received to know who the giver was. So he was stopping at the doorsteps of 28 people, on a blustery December night, to recruit his army of Christmas helpers.

I asked if I could look at his list. At the top were dollar amounts, scratched out.





And then finally: $700.

God kept giving him names, he said, so the number grew and grew and grew.

“I finally put my hands over my ears like this,” the man said, laughing and demonstrating. “And I went: ‘La-la-la-la-la! I’m not listening any more, or I’m going to go broke, God!'”

This is a middle-class Iowa guy who works at a factory, drives a used car and isn’t afraid to wear second-hand jeans or WalMart shirts. He’s a dad and a husband and has built up a little bit of savings. He is not an affluent man, but he loves Jesus, and that makes him one of the richest men I know.

“Maybe we could have gotten a new TV with it, but this is what I’m supposed to do,” he shrugged. “It’s a gift from God. You can’t tell anyone who did it, because this is from God — not me.”

He knows it’s from God, because at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, God put name … after name … after name on his heart. And he transcribed. He wrote names on a little yellow slip of paper.

And now, he needed elves to spread Jesus’ love this Christmas. Each person on his list — 28 in all — will receive a $25 gift card to Applebee’s. Each of us has been instructed by this man to give it to someone else.

I’m supposed to give to someone at Dordt, he told me.

A neighbor-boy down the road is supposed to give a card to someone at school.

Another neighbor, in her 60s, will find someone in need in a nearby town.

A beer-truck driver on the list will give to someone on his route.

A man who sells cigarettes and Doritos at area convenience stores has a card to give, too. So does a stay-at-home mom, a teenage girl, a schoolteacher, a coach, a farmer, a nurse, a grandpa, a local business owner.

I read down the list and just shook my head and began to cry. This is the multiplication of giving: One + one + one + one.

And we — this little army of deliverers — we get to take part in this wild act of giving, this extravagant generosity of an anonymous man who won’t even get to witness the blessing.



So extravagant, this grace of our Father, who sent His son to Earth. So gracious, this Father, to speak to mere mortals and let us be His hands and feet to a weary and broken world. Who are you, Lord, that you are mindful of us? I’m buckled at the knees by your extravagance. Your giving, Lord, is contagious. We want to give wildly for you, too. Show us how today.


Each Wednesday I join Ann Voskamp as she explores spiritual practices that draw us nearer to the heart of Jesus. This week, Ann asks us to explore — “Finding Christ in Christmas: Where I’ve seen Jesus this Season…”

I saw Jesus on my doorstep last night.

holy experience

Submitted also as part of Billy Coffey’s Ten-Dollar Challenge.


Photo: Looking out the front window, our cold world is framed by the cross.
And it’s warm … so warm … on this side of the cross.

by | December 16, 2009 | 47 comments


  1. Kelly Langner Sauer

    wow – what a story… I don't know whether to laugh or cry. WOW.

  2. Warren Baldwin

    What an inspiring idea for the spirit of "peace and goodwill to all" this season.

  3. Billy Coffey

    That is INCREDIBLE! So good to see the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Iowa, thanks to those who give so much with so much love.

  4. katdish

    Oh WOW! That's just awesome Jennifer.

  5. Andrea

    AMEN…Awesome how GOD works,

  6. Shirley

    I so love this!

  7. Jessica

    Absolutely beautiful. THIS is why He came. Not for the hustle and bustle. Not for maxxed out credit cards. Not for holiday parties and decorations. For love. Plain and simple.

  8. elizabeth

    Big sigh…so great, thought provoking, convicting.

  9. Lisa notes...

    How incredible! Jesus came to your door. And you're passing him along. What a great testimony. Thank you so much for sharing.

  10. jasonS

    I love stories like this. God is so good and incredible. Thank you for sharing this.

  11. Joye @ The Joyeful Journey

    As always, Jennifer, you've blessed me with these words of a love that is given so freely, without recognition or even an expectation of return. Jesus at our front door.


  12. Deidra

    You stories of our Jesus always blow my mind!

  13. Tabitha@ichoosebliss

    This was just so very beautiful!!

  14. Freddae'

    I love this story. You have such a way of telling it.

  15. Sincerely, Jenni

    I am just in awe. This is the most amazing story I have heard in – well, I don't even know how long.

    It just made me cray reading it. What a blessing you all are!

  16. Graceful

    I can't help but repeat what everyone else has already said: this is the most amazing story. I am completely bowled over.

  17. Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience

    I am weeping.

  18. cindyhan111

    awesome!!! and fun!

  19. mom2six

    The picture, you know it captivates me. Then the words, they and the Jesus on your doorstep, leave me with a sense of wonder. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    This exemplifies what Christmas represents.It's all about Jesus and what we can do for others.

    Love to you my friend!

  21. Kay

    That's just awesome. How wonderful that God and this man chose you to be a conduit of love and sacrifice. what a privilege.

  22. Tony C

    What a blessing!

    Thanks Jennifer…there is hope as long as we keep Christ alive in our hearts!

  23. deb

    Your astonishment and sense of joy just leaps off the screen and into my heart. How incredible.

  24. Karen

    My heart is so full…thank you for sharing this….

  25. Rose

    Wow, that so touched my heart. Amazing how God moves and its more amazing when a person says, "I don't know who this is for but God said do it." Thank you so much for sharing this lovely story.

    P.S. God must have laid the "door" theme on some hearts last night. I have seen three blogs with the word door in the title (including mine). Woohoo!

  26. A Simple Country Girl

    Ah, you are tugging my heart strings strong!

  27. Jennifer

    Incredible… I have no words. So incredible!!

  28. Wylie


  29. Alleluiabelle

    Oh My Sweet Friend, I am in awe of it all! Complete and total AWE! What a mighty God we have.

    Thank you Father for speaking as Jennifer said to mere mortals and letting us be your hands and feet to a weary and broken world.

    I'm on my knees with you in praise and thanksgiving as I say, "Your giving, Lord, is contagious. I want to give wildly for you, too. Show me how today." Show me Lord, use me Lord.

    I love you Jennifer.


  30. Amber

    Wow. God is using you in inspiring us Christian men and women. Praise Him!!

  31. Catherine

    Oh, what a blessing to read this tonight … Jesus at your front door, yes that's what Christmas is all about isn't it, Jesus coming to each of us, and then us passing that great Love on to others who need it, too.

  32. Linda

    Such a touching, beautiful story. Oh to have hearts that give so selflessly, ears to hear and obedient hearts. Thank you for sharing this.

  33. Beth E.

    This is great! Bless that man's heart. For in it, he had room to show God's love to 28 people he didn't even know.

    Your post has truly touched my heart.


  34. Maria

    What a beautiful story ~ giving from the heart ~ anonymously ~ but riding on a wave of love and generosity inspired by the VERY BIG heart of God.

    Thank you for sharing that story so that the wave continues ~~~
    a Joyful Christmas to you, Jennifer~

  35. travelmom

    The feet and hands of the gospel~ a blessing to read.

  36. Anne Lang Bundy

    Oh Jennifer, you won't believe this. I wrote a post many weeks ago titled Extravagant Gift which was published today. I'm just now reading your blog and had no idea this was here til just now.

    As happy as I am about my little post, I feel awed and humbled at this story.

    And even more awed at our extravagant God.

  37. FaithBarista Bonnie

    I am humbled and happy by this story. Incredible you witnessed the Spirit of Christmas bringing joy first hand!

  38. Doug Spurling

    "And the name came right away, in that Spirit voice that can't be heard audibly but booms within the soul. I knew."

    John 10:27
    My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

    Word of God speak…

  39. elaine @ peace for the journey

    I think he sees Jesus in you as well and that your heart could be trusted with such a lavish expression of grace.

    Give well, sister, even as you have received well.

    Merry Christmas.


  40. Red Letter Believers

    I love how we see blessings spread exponentially!

  41. Wanda

    My heart is leaping just hearing….this is so amazing!
    It gives me hope!
    Sometimes….struggling financially can make you doubt. This story is not only incredible to imagine it's a dream for so many who want to bless just like that!

  42. Wanda

    I hope you don't mind….but I had to link up to this story!

  43. Verna


  44. Jennifer

    Always a blessing to be part of passing along God's blessings to us. The other side of eternity, I'll be bursting to know if we did make a difference with our small acts.

  45. MooBee Mama

    Too cool for words. But thank you so much for sharing it with the world.

  46. gabi dickinson

    I'm speechless by the power of His love.
    Thank You for the way You love, Abba…

  47. Audra Krell

    So, so beautiful. I'm thrilled that High Calling Blogs pointed this post out, I wouldn't have wanted to miss it! Merry Christmas!


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