Guest Post from Janet L. Christensen, author of The Littlest Star (coming Christmas 2018)
Every year at this time, I remember one particular Christmas, and an amazing experience that renewed our hope and strengthened our hearts during a challenging season of our lives.
It had been a difficult autumn for us. My husband had been laid off from his marketing job when the economy slowed down in the Boise, Idaho area in 2008. By that December, he was working again in a warehouse, but we still had a long way to go to dig out of the financial mess in which we found ourselves.
One night as I was cooking our family’s supper, our doorbell rang. I put down the spoon I had in my hand and walked through the house to the door. When I opened the door, no one was there. The porch light glowed into the yard as I looked around. Nobody.
As I began to shut the door, something caught my eye. To the left of the door along the house sat three large boxes. I looked closer. The boxes were heaped full of groceries! I ran out into the yard barefooted, hoping to catch a glimpse of the angels that had blessed us. I looked around, but didn’t see a thing. Nothing moved in the shadows. No vehicles drove through the neighborhood. The December night was quiet with no evidence to help me to figure out who had been at our house moments ago.
After a couple of minutes, I returned to the house and started to carry in the boxes. My mind raced as I put away frozen vegetables, milk, pancake mix, syrup, peanut butter, bread and meat. Who would have done this? Did they know how much of an impact they had made for our family? I was so grateful to these angels. I just wished that I knew who they were so that I could thank them.
A couple of days later, my husband went out to get the mail. He opened the mailbox and inside lay four tiny cloth bags: one for my husband, Jason, one for me, and one for each of our boys, Spencer and Drew. Inside each one was a gift card. On the tag, it simply said, “From Santa”. The boys, ages 7 and 4, were thrilled. Once again, we had been gifted by someone’s amazing generosity.
Many years have passed, but I remember that Christmas like it was yesterday. I remember the desperation of our finances. I remember standing in the yard looking out into the dark winter night. I remember the boxes full of groceries and the little handmade denim gift card bags. But, most of all, I remember feeling the love of someone who will forever remain nameless.
Since then, my family has made it priority to give the same special gift at Christmas. Some years finances are tight and we do a little less than other years. But, we make it a priority to do something.
The biggest challenge? How to deliver without being noticed. Sometimes we have to park in neighborhood school lots and quietly wait or we need to drive by people’s homes more than once to find the right time to sneak gifts of love on our recipient’s porches. Our kids love the thrill of delivery and the success of not getting caught.
Most importantly, they are learning one of the greatest things about the spirit of Christmas—the joy of giving from the heart to others in need.
Janet L. Christensen is an encourager, who writes to entertain children through stories with an underlying message of hope and love. She is married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother of two young gentlemen. You can learn more about her and her works on her website as well as Facebook and Twitter.