A Little Christmas Story
By Deborah Blackwell
Fa la la la la. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Decorations are appearing, holiday music is playing, and the images of a Normal Rockwell yuletide autoplay in my mind. This is my favorite time of year. I love being merry. Joyful. And I delve right in to the holiday season with gusto. So, I’ll share a little Christmas story I wrote a few years ago.
Christmas was only two days away, but a lush, snow-draped holiday scene was nothing more than an airy hope. A deep freeze had settled in with such bitter cold, the snow on the ground was frozen like a thick layer of ice, and the sub-zero air pierced the bodies of anyone who stepped foot outside. On these “North Pole” days, I was glad the walk from the car to the front door was only thirty feet.
When the kids leapt off the bus that afternoon, they looked like a blur as they ran to the front door, shivering. When they got inside, they tossed their coats and backpacks onto the floor and darted into the kitchen. Nobody talked, they could only focus on warming up and getting their snacks. The kitchen was always their first stop after school, and when they felt satisfied there, they ran to their rooms to unwind.
On this typical, but extra-cold afternoon, just as everyone settled in to their chosen spots, the doorbell rang. “Can someone get the door?” I asked. But no one budged. I thought it was the neighbor, who often popped over with our misdelivered mail. I put on a happy face, and with pleasant anticipation went to the door, only to find nobody there. Instead, my front porch was covered with wrapped Christmas gifts.
I stood there, confused, in the face of North Pole temperatures, looking at the colorful display. Who were they from? Were they delivered to the wrong address? There must be some mistake. We had recently lost everything, but I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone except the local librarian, in passing. I called for the kids, loud, and resolute.
They wandered over, and when they saw the gifts, bewildered, they shuffled in their socks onto the cold porch floor and peered at the tags. Their warm breath puffed around them like smoke. The minute they realized their names were on the gifts, they sprung to life like cartoons. Without missing a beat, each child gathered what he could carry, brought the gifts inside, and put them next to the tiny, tippy Christmas tree in the corner. They stood there looking, in amazement, discussing the possibilities of how such a windfall could land on their porch. Was it Santa?
I had always shared the old maxim, “In order to receive you have to believe,” but this couldn’t have been Santa. Santa was only a figment of the imagination, held in people’s hearts, or a glimmer in their eyes.
Who on earth did this?
We had lived in this town for years and had gotten to know many people. But they seemed to keep to themselves. These folks ran in their own social circles, with an outward appearance of pretentious affluence.
That’s not who I am, I live my life giving to others, too much perhaps, and not worldly gifts, but gifts from the heart. Not just at Christmas, but anytime. I never imagined, or even expected, that anyone would give back. I had no idea there was a spirit of generosity that thrived here.
To be on the receiving end of that kindness from people I didn’t know even noticed… who didn’t know the tragedy and suffering we had endured… now delivering support wrapped in beautiful holiday packages. We were overcome with emotion that people cared. Christmas had come early with the ring of a bell. Love delivered, as if by magic.
We rarely pause in our busy lives to offer joy and love, compassion, and support to those who are only persevering through, or worse, simply trying to survive their personal challenges, stressors, or traumas. It’s so easy to be swept up in daily rigors, life changing all the time, overcome by external circumstances. A dear friend asked me to consider sharing these two opportunities to spread a little love…and hope…this holiday season:
Operation Santa: uspsoperationsanta.com