In memory of
A CHRISTMAS STORY
It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree, no name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas... oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of the overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry, and the dusting powder for Grandma; The gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweater, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son, Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended, and shortly before Christmas, there was a non league match against a team sponsored by the inner-city, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that the shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.
Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids, all kids, and he knew them having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse.
That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his Christmas gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.
For each Christmas, I followed the tradition; one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was so wrapped up in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three others. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.
Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us. May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.
God Bless... pass this along to your friends and loved ones.
ARTICLES TO FEED THE SPIRIT The Angel Flight
Church Humor II
The Gift Uneaten
The Story of a Beloved Son
How a child explains God
Mother Theresa - Do it Anyway
Catch Fire Teen Christian Groups
Parable of the Seeds
GOD'S PEACE and Joy in the Morning
The Final Analysis
Where Was God?
A Christmas Story
So far, today, I've done all right. I haven't gossiped or lost my temper. I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, or self centered. I'm really happy about that so far. But in a few minutes I'm going to be getting out of bed and then I'm going to need a lot of help. Thank you! Amen
HEAVENLY & HEALING STORIES A Heavenly Manifestation
"He Will Find You"
The Empty Chair - Prayer
"I'll Lend You A Child"
If Tomorrow Never Comes
Books about Heavenly Stories
The Angel - Hans C Anderson
The Healing of Sorrow
Prophecies about the US Constitution
THINKING of SUICIDE?
Jared's Life &
Friends & Family
Jared Jumpin Movie!
Click on Pics 4 avi file
Dealing With Grief
Other People's Stories
Making A Difference
Lives Saved because of
Bullycide in America
The Meaning of Life
A HEALTHY BALANCE
Spirit Mind Body Family Finances Society
Jared's Sister says:
Laughter is Healing
About Jared's Mom
Brenda's Web Page