Monday, December 15, 2008

What I got for Christmas

This year my mom gave me a book she put together herself, (she may have had some help from an aunt.) that is honestly one of my most cherished parts of this Christmas. This book is a three-ring binder with a scripture, carol and Christmas story for each of the first 25 days of December. Every night before my kids go to bed, we read the scripture, sing the carol and then I read them the story. I love the way this makes my house feel. There is so much love in the air you can almost see it.

Last night's was exceptional. So if you don't mind......I would love to share it with you. If you are not interested......that is OK too, but now would be the time to quit reading.

Scripture: Matthew 25:40
"Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Carol: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our trouble will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star
upon the highest bough.
And have yourself
A merry little Christmas now.

Now for the story...

The Sharing Session
by Marion Brenish

As a California tourist unaccustomed to single digits, the bitter cold of that December day in Washington, D.C., was dampening my holiday mood. Accounting for the windchill factor, the temperature was below zero. When I ducked into Union Station, I hoped only to get warm. What I got was a lesson in the real meaning of the season from a homeless person.

Warmth was slowly being restored to my hands and feet as I settled onto one of the public benches with a gleaming cup of coffee. Now I was ready to relax and do some serious people watching. I noticed a homeless man seated nearby and several tables of diners spilling out into the great hall from the upscale America Restaurant. Heavenly aromas from gourmet treats were tempting me to consider an early dinner. From the longing look in my neighbor's eye it was obvious the he, too, had not failed to notice the banquet taking place around us. I wondered how long it had been since he had eaten anything. Expecting he would approach me for a handout, I welcomed such a plea on his part. He never did. The more I look at this scene, the crueler his plight seemed. My head and heart were battling it out: the former telling me to mind my own business, and the latter urging me to make an immediate trip to the food court on his behalf.

While this internal debate was raging, a well-dressed young couple suddenly approached. "Excuse me, sir," began the husband. "My wife and I just finished eating and our appetite wasn't as big as we thought. We hate to waste good food. Can you help us out and put it to good use?" The kind stranger handed a large styrofoam container overflowing with goodies. "God bless you both. Merry Christmas," came the grateful reply. Feeling good about what I had seen, but dismayed by my own lack of action, I observed my neighbor's response to his sudden good fortune. First he scrutinized his new found bounty, arranging the soup crackers, inspecting the club sandwich and stirring the salad dressing. Then he slowly lifted the lid off the soup, inhaling the aroma and cupping his hands around the steaming bowl. It was obvious that he was going to prolong this the enjoyment of this miracle meal. Finally, he appeared ready for that long dreamed of first taste. Meticulously unwrapping the plastic spoon, he filled it to overflowing, lifted it towards his mouth and with suddenness that stunned me stopped dead in his tracks.

The reason for this unexpected behavior soon became clear. Entering the hall and shuffling in our direction was a new arrival. In his seventies (or so he appeared), hat less and glove less, he was clad in lightweight pants, a threadbare jacket and open shoes. His hands were raw and his face had a bluish tint. I wasn't alone in gasping aloud at the sad sight, but my neighbor was the only one doing anything about it. Quickly pulling aside his treasure, he leaped up and guided the elderly man to an adjacent seat. He took the old man's hands and rubbed them in his own. He tenderly draped the down jacket over the older man's shoulders. Finally, he spoke. "Pop, my name's Jack, and one of God's angels brought me this meal. I just finished eating, and I hate to waste good food. Can you help me out?" Placing the steaming cup of soup in the stranger's hands, he didn't wait for an answer. But he got one. "Sure, Son, but only if you go halfway with me on that sandwich. It's too much for a man my age."

It wasn't easy making my way to the food court with tears blurring my vision, but I soon returned with the largest containers of coffee and the biggest assortment of pastries possible. "Excuse me, gentlemen, but..."

My parents, like yours, taught me to share, but it wasn't until that day in Union Station that I truly learned the meaning of the word. I left the hall feeling warmer than I had ever though possible.


Jen said...

that is a really cool gift.

Krista said...

Thanks for sharing your gift with me! I really enjoyed the story and the meaning. We can always find someone a little worse off than ourselves no matter how low we feel. Love you friend!

Jess said...

Thank you for sharing! I'm so glad I didn't hesitate to read!

orangemily said...

What a great idea! Your mom is awesome!

Flea said...

Ooohhh! I want to buy coffee and pastries for a homeless person now! Actually, a cup of hot cocoa and a pastry sound really good now, too.

What a wonderful gift you've all been given. :)

Anonymous said...

That is a really great gift. One that you'll cherish forever.

Stacy said...

Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing...

Dawn said...

How great is that!!?! Thanks for sharing that!

Danyele Easterhaus said...

that is more than fabulous. what a wonderful and thoughtful gift. love it. thanks for sharing!

Shauna said...

Stopping by to say I hope you have a blessed and very Merry Christmas! ♥ Hugs :) Shauna