by Becky Ball
On a warm day in June 2002, my husband learned that he and a few of his fellow co-workers had been laid off from their jobs.
The company that Mike worked for had suffered major financial losses since 9/11. Many people, including my husband, found themselves unemployed. Looking for another job became an enormous challenge.
By December, my husband still had not found work. The outlook of a bleak Christmas for our family seemed a real possibility. Trying to pay bills with unemployment checks just barely kept our heads above water. While pondering what I could do to bring the Christmas spirit into my home, the telephone rang.
The person on the other end of the line stated, “I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but I just wanted to let you know that there are people who love your family and want to provide Christmas for you.”
I held the phone in stunned disbelief not knowing what to say. After gaining my composure, I told him that even though I truly appreciated the offer, my family would be OK.
He said, “They said you would say that, and to tell you they still wanted to provide Christmas for your family anyway.”
He then asked for a list of the things we wanted. With tears streaming down my face I gratefully accepted his invitation to help. He stated that he would bring the gifts sometime on Christmas Eve. I hung up the phone in total shock. I wondered who cared for my family that much that they were willing to make us a recipient of their generosity.
On Christmas Eve, as promised, the stranger came into our home bearing what seemed an endless sea of gifts. Tears of joy were shed as we asked our unknown Santa’s helper to please give our thanks and gratitude to whoever has blessed our lives.
Later that evening while my family gathered to celebrate Jesus’ birth, there was a loud knock on our front door. We were surprised when we opened the door and nobody was there. Lying on the front porch was a brightly decorated basket overflowing with gifts. Our visitor was nowhere to be seen. He had silently slipped into the frosty night air without being discovered. The electrifying shock that we were the recipients of another loving act of kindness was humbling at best. Our inadequate response was to shout out a loud “thank you.”
Early Christmas morning as our family gathered to open the gifts that were given to us the day before, there was another knock on our door. In nervous anticipation, we opened the door and in total disbelief discovered another surprise had been left on our front porch. On our doorstep another festive gift-wrapped box had been left, which held all the fixings for a magnificent Christmas breakfast feast. My family could not believe that for a third time we were receiving another special gift by someone who wanted to stay anonymous. We shouted out into the early morning a “thank you and Merry Christmas” to our third unknown friend.
Shortly after discovering that last box of Christmas goodies, my family gathered in prayer and humbly gave thanks for all the outpouring of love and kindness that had been shown to us. We were reminded of the time when Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another. My family felt his love and the true meaning of Christmas was embedded in our hearts.