Many of us are familiar with the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. The English Christmas carol recalls the 12 days within the season of Christmas and a different gift for each day. What you may not know is that this song is said to have been a mnemonic device to help Christian children recall certain parts of their faith during a time of religious oppression and persecution in England.
In sharing the CrossTraining story for 2016 and into 2017, we thought we would develop our own 12 Stories of CrossTraining to correspond with the 12 Days of Christmas. And so, today, on the twelfth day of Christmas, we share our twelfth day of CrossTraining Christmas and our twelfth (and last) story…sing or hum along with us —
On the twelfth day of CrossTraining Christmas, my true love gave to me…
a twelve-year Bible.
Today, on the twelfth day of CrossTraining Christmas, probably our favorite story of the year to share with you. It is a testament to the value of constancy and consistency. Here is the story, as shared by Rev Brad Kenney,
Nearly, twelve years ago, I was in the second year of my role as chaplain to the Rapids. I had had several conversations with a particular player about life and faith. As the end of the season approached, I felt that God wanted me to give this person a Bible before the season was over.
I had very little money as a seminary student, so I scraped together a few bucks and bought a Bible — nothing fancy, it was just a ‘pew’ Bible. I wrote a note in the front page. I wanted to encourage this guy to read the greatest ‘bestseller of all-time’ for the ways that it could bless him for this life and the life to come. I remember leaving it in his locker a few weeks before the season ended.
That player didn’t return for the following season. That had been his last time with the club. A couple months later, the Rapids team administrator handed me the Bible, ‘I think you left this here. It has your name in it.’ Of course, I was disappointed.
In the years that followed, I continued to try and keep in touch with this former player — I would text or email him and let him know I cared about him and prayed God’s blessings on him and his family and on his work. I ended up keeping that Bible, too. I wasn’t sure what to do with it.
There were many times that I wanted to rip out that note and give the Bible to someone else, or sell it in a garage sale and recoup my costs, or give it away in a Timothy Project — but for some reason, God wouldn’t let me. I held on to it. That Bible moved wherever we moved. Time and time again, I packed that thing up, had it on my shelf, stored it in a box.
This past year, that player returned to the club in a different capacity. I ran into him when I was getting some things ready for the first study with the players for the year and I was handing out a book on leadership. He asked me, ‘What’s that book you’ve got there?’ I showed him and gave him an extra one. He said, ‘Do you want to know what I am reading, right now?’ I said sure and he invited me to his office.
As I walked in, he closed the door behind me (odd, I thought). He opened up a backpack and pulled out the devotional Streams in the Desert and a Bible. With emotion, he shared that the past year or so had really been difficult and how some mutual friends had given him these books and encouraged him to seek God. As he shared with me, I shared with him about the 12-year Bible. He apologized profusely, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t remember it. I’m sorry I didn’t take it.’
It’s ok, I told him. I don’t think you were ready to read it.
He has that 12-year old Bible today. As I wrapped up in paper and wrote out a new card it struck me that part of God having me with the Rapids so long was the opportunity to continue to speak into people’s life and to be part of their story, part of their journey toward God. I wasn’t alone in his journey of faith — many others had a part in pointing him toward God and I know that someday in heaven we will all celebrate and rejoice at the good things God has done.
Even with a 12-year old Bible.
To all of our supporters for 2016 – thank you for enabling us to continue to walk alongside people and point them to God in moments of crisis and need. We look forward to 2017 and pray that you will be as blessed this year as we at CrossTraining have been.