Monday, January 02, 2012

The Best Christmas

Christmas 2011 was always going to be the greatest of my life, simply because my wife was still with me. But it took on ever greater meaning, thanks to an email.

When I’m on vacation, I rarely check my work email, yet for some reason I did on Christmas morning. It was about 8:00 AM, and I hadn’t even had coffee when I got the message from Nevada. A woman wrote the radio station about three hours earlier. Through Facebook, she had been in touch with a school friend whom she hadn’t spoken with in many years. Her friend’s husband had been out of work for months and had just told his family there would be no Christmas. The couple had two kids and had taken in another woman and her infant soon who had no place else to go. The family had no presents and no food. The children also needed clothes.

I read the letter to Norma and told her I didn’t see how we could find clothes and toys on Christmas day.

Her reply was simple. “If there’s a day for miracles to happen,” she said, “it’s today.”

I immediately placed a call to one of our friends, who has three young grandsons.

What I didn’t know was that she had been up most of the night. Like a lot of people, she has had a rough year, but every time she was in desperate need of help, help arrived. She told me she was hoping trying to figure out a way to payback some of the good fortune she had received.

Then I called. She immediately started putting together clothes and toys, including two nearly new bicycles. Her grandsons gladly donated new toys that they had just received as gifts. Then her sister-in-law pitched in with new clothes and new toys.

Next, I got in touch with another friend, who along with her husband had been feeding the hungry through their church for many years. They quickly put together a week’s worth of food. They showed up with their truck full of food and we loaded the clothes and toys. We caravanned to the home, which was about fifteen minutes away. We had a little trouble finding it–some knocking on doors was required, but we eventually located the family. I knocked on their trailer door several times before anybody answered. When they did, I told them Santa had asked us to make a delivery. We began carrying boxes into their home while the family alternated between stunned silence and tears.

Since we don’t have kids, Norma and I had little to contribute, except for some cash. But we were able to find the right people to help this family have a Christmas.

Driving home, we were both a little overwhelmed by what had just happened. Christmas hadn’t felt this good in many years. This was the second time I’ve been able to take part in helping a family that was down on their luck. I hope it won’t be the last.

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