Blessed at Christmas
Sometimes I am calloused by the hardness of the world. Rarely am I surprised by the kindness of others. But, this Christmas, I saw the generosity of one person bless a family with many needs. Because I witnessed this kind act, I became one of those blessed and I experienced first-hand the true meaning of Christmas.
I had heard much about this individual through my co-worker. She spoke highly of his character, his family, and his spirituality. It was his actions with strangers, however, that convinced me he truly was a compassionate person.
After hearing the plight of one family in the City, this individual donated a very generous amount of money to insure one family would be blessed on Christmas morning.
His assistant went on several shopping sprees and selected unique and tailored gifts for each family member. The shopping was done over a two week period and his monetary gift was stretched by purchasing items on sale, using coupons, and asking for additional discounts. The children were able to get things they needed as well as things they wished for.
I went on some of the shopping forays as items were selected and purchased. Sometimes, I sought out gifts and offered suggestions and was excited to see things chosen that the children might like. The items were wrapped, stacked neatly, and checked off as each child’s quota was filled. Finally, all the presents were purchased and ready to go.
The oldest daughter, 15, received boots, a coat, a blanket, an outfit and a karaoke machine. The next child, 12, was given a CD player, blanket, magician set, coat, outfit, and shoes. The next boy, 8, was the recipient of shoes, a coat, an outfit, a blanket, CD player and an art easel. The youngest girl, 5, got shoes, an outfit, a coat, blanket and a Dora the Explorer kitchen. The mom received socks, lotions, a candle, and dish towels. All five members of the family also received large red stockings full of delightful surprises!
On the day the presents were to be delivered, the benefactor was out of town and could not be there to play Santa so I got to go in his place. My car was loaded up, filling the trunk and back seat to capacity. My co-worker sat on the passenger side, holding one of the larger presents.
The mother was called and we were given consent to deliver the packages directly to their home. It was late afternoon on the 22nd when we drove downtown. We passed graffiti and barred windows, vacant and vandalized businesses. Groups of men stood around, talking and smoking, watching warily at passersby.
Two houses down in the middle of the city, we stopped in front of a small, rundown house. We walked carefully up the iced over rocky driveway and knocked on the door. A woman opened it cautiously. We talked to the woman for a moment and then returned to the car. We gathered armfuls of presents and proceeded into the house. Imagine the family’s wonder when we asked, “Where do you want all the presents?”
In the dimly lighted room, we could see all four of the children waiting on the couch, trying to contain their excitement. Their eyes were bright with anticipation and their broad smiles spoke volumes without saying anything. We placed the presents on a table and brought back more. Again, we left and returned, each time bringing in more presents. By now, the kids had seen names on the packages and were dreaming big. Each time we were greeted with an enthusiastic “Thank you! Thank you!” And each time, their eyes grew wider and their smiles broader. And each time they remained polite and patient anxiously waiting to see what came next.
We told them several times, “We are just elves. These gifts are from a man who loves children. He just wanted to bless you and wish you a very merry Christmas.” When all the presents were stacked inside, we said goodbye. The children thanked us again as we left.
As we drove towards the freeway, I knew I had been part of something special. This family had been given hope. They had seen that some people in the world really care. They had been blessed. I, too, had seen lights dancing in their eyes and watched their faces fill with hope. There was a lightness to my thoughts as I remembered how one person touched many. I, too, had been touched and I went forward with new purpose.
From that experience I realized the true spirit of Christmas is not about getting presents. It’s not even about giving presents to family or friends. It’s about reaching out and blessing those who face another dark and dreary Christmas. Some families have little hope because comforts and joy have been pushed aside by poverty and hardships. For those families, Christmas lives only in dreams. But, sometimes, there are earthly angels who bring dreams to reality. I want to one of those earthly angels and reach out to strangers with needed supplies and gifts of hope. I don’t have the monetary means of those with wealth, but I can do something. This Christmas I’ll help in shelters helping dish out food, help in a hospital’s children’s ward, or visit shut-ins. My world has grown larger and my future brighter. I will bless someone this year.