Another Christmas story

As children we are sometimes oblivious to what our parents are going through. Especially at Christmas. Dad used to tell this story in his inspirational lectures before he had the stroke. Perhaps it’s time I share it now, with some modifications.

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We had just moved from tropical South Texas to the Philadelphia area. Dad’s work had transferred him to what I felt was an alien planet — cold, bleak and unfriendly — but my siblings and I adapted.

As Christmas approached, we were excited and rambunctious.

Little did we know that even though dad now had a better job, making ends meet was difficult because of the move. I was 10 years old and had no idea we might be poor.

My mother was worried about Christmas. Dad kept telling her to have faith.

“But we don’t enough money for toys, a Christmas turkey … or even a tree.”

“God will provide,” he assured her.

My mother trusted God but she also knew that we would expect toys and a Christmas tree. On Christmas Eve day, my father phoned my mother from work and said he had an extra $10. In the early 1960s, that amount of money could buy a great deal. Not enough for a tree or toys. But at least we’d have Christmas dinner, he told my mother.

On the way home from work, my father stopped into a church. He knelt and prayed. He thanked God for taking care of his family. He asked that this be the best Christmas ever for his wife and children.

He held back tears, not knowing how God was going to do that, but his faith was deep and strong. He knew God would answer his prayer.

As he walked down the aisle, a man approached him.

“Sir, my wife is ill. I have an infant son and I’m out of work. We have nothing on this Christmas Eve. If you can spare even a dollar, I would be so thankful.”

My father stood there, not knowing what to do. He needed this money for his own family. But it was Christmas Eve and this man was in need. Dad dug into his wallet and handed the man his last $10.

“Go and take care of your family. Merry Christmas.”

The man began to cry.

“God bless you, sir,” he told my father, hugging him.

As dad left the church he wondered what he was going to tell my mother. He knew she’d be upset. When he got home and shared what had happened, she looked at him with tears in her eyes.

“But what about our Christmas?”

A knock on the door interrupted their conversation. The neighbor across the street and his adult son stood there, holding a huge, fresh-cut Christmas tree.

“We’re not sure you could use this,” said our neighbor, “but my son came into town for Christmas and didn’t know we already had a tree and bought this one. Can you use it?”

“Yes, we can!” my father said, thanking him, as we all stood there, our eyes growing wide.

Then came another knock. The local volunteer fire company was delivering Christmas dinners, complete with turkey and the trimmings. My father was having a difficult time settling us down at all the excitement.

“But what about gifts for the children?” my mother whispered, as we decorated the tree.

“God’s come through so far. Just wait.”

My mother still wasn’t sure, but at least she knew we had a tree and a Christmas dinner.

Later that evening, as it grew colder and a soft snow fell, my mother thought she heard another knock on the door. When she went to open it, she found two huge boxes, brimming with wrapped gifts.

“Someone must have known we were in need and delivered them,” my mother whispered.

I still remember that Christmas. Life was hard and we may have been poor, but in hindsight, I see how rich we were. My parents gave us the greatest gift of all — one of faith, that all things are possible with God.

We witnessed firsthand the true meaning of Christmas, how God was manifest and born through the love and kindness of neighbors and strangers.

And God had answered dad’s prayer after all. It was indeed the best Christmas ever.

*******

Thank you all for the gift of your readership and presence here. I wish you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas, a blessed holiday season and a Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Another Christmas story

  1. What an absolutely beautiful Christmas story. Thank you for sharing it and for the reminder that our faith may be frequently tested but God is always faithful. Merry Christmas to you and your family and many blessings in the New Year.

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    • Thanks so much, Joann, for reading my blog post and your kind words. The story, as I remember it and as dad used to tell it, always bolsters my sagging faith that all things are possible with God — no matter how bleak things may seem. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, and many blessings into the New Year.

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  2. This is so full of love and hope. I especially connect this year as my husband and I have both been laid off since the spring, right after he got his MBA too. It’s been tough making ends meet. Each month we wonder, how will we make it? And with Christmas here, it’s even harder as we want to make it special for our son. But so many people have come through to help us – and I feel so blessed and loved because of it. The friend who created a job at her company just for me, the friends who handed me money out of the blue, the seasonal job my husband got, the friend who gave us a grocery gift card. I feel like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life – no one is a failure with friends. 🙂 Thanks for this lovely post and memory.

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    • I had no idea you and your husband had been laid off from work, Donna. A difficult time, to be sure. And yet, as you share here so beautifully, friends have stepped in to lift you both up, and isn’t this what life is all about, what it’s meant to be? Clarence the angel was right indeed. Thanks for reading my blog post and may you continue to be blessed at Christmas and throughout the year, in many ways!

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  3. What a beautiful story. Your Father (and Mother) have witnessed through his life and his stories the great gift of Faith in God that has touched so many lives, including my own! That’s what I love about them! They have given such love, joy and hope to me and Roger. They have been an example of God’s love for as long as I have known them. I’m so thankful He placed them in my life.
    May you and your family celebrate this Christmas the love of God and your parents! The greatest gift your parents gave to you and those who know them is their faith and love of the Lord!
    I believe you share that same gift with your writing just as your Dad did!
    God bless. Love to you all.

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    • Thank you, dear Lisa. I am so blessed to have a father and mother with such strong faith. I pray you and your family had a blessed Christmas and that in this New Year you and your loved ones are showered with much joy and many blessings. And thank you for your kind words as to my writing. I always pray God uses this gift in ways that are of service. God bless you and thank you for your prayers for us. Sending love and prayers to you and your family.

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