A Christmas to Remember
The true meaning of Christmas was revealed to me years ago. That Christmas found me as a newly single mother of a beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter of three. Trying to juggle rent, utilities, groceries, bills, and a child was putting a serious strain on finances. Many times I would skip meals so my child would have a full meal to eat.
Every parent wishes to give their child the best that they can. So it is no wonder that my heart was breaking when I had no choice but to pull her onto my lap and tell my little girl that there was no Santa. I explain to her while holding back my tears that I was Santa and I could not afford to put any presents under the tree for her or feed her a real Christmas dinner.
God truly blessed me with a daughter that is my earth-bound angel. In the beautiful innocence of a child, she told me, "It's ok Mom. You can just wrap up some of my stuffed animals from my room and put them under the tree. I'll forget what is under there by Christmas." I was amazed and humbled by her response to our situation. So I told her to get into my jewelry box and cosmetics and wrap up some of my things for a present for me.
Christmas day came. I managed to purchase cornbread mix and macaroni and cheese in a box for $.25 per box each. After we ate our dinner of macaroni and cheese, and cornbread, we sang "Happy Birthday Jesus".
We spent the evening trying to outdo each other with every present we opened with "It is just what I wanted!" and expressions of surprise. The laughter grew throughout the processes until our sides hurt.
Later that night after she had gone to sleep and I could reflect on the Christmas we shared, I cried for not being able to give her what I thought she deserved and spoiling the "Santa" fairy tale, but then it dawned on me what a great present God had given me and I cried for joy.
How often do you find the true meaning of Christmas? The pure and innocent spirit of a child reminded me that it isn't about the presents, but the sharing the love that Christ has for us that is Christmas.
The following year was not much better financially.>Preparing for another barren Christmas, my daughter and I went to the Christmas service at church to worship the one who's birthday we celebrate.
When we arrived home from church and walked to the front door of our mobile home, I noticed a bag of trash on our front doorstep.Irritated that someone could be cruel on the holidays, I went to throw the bag to the side.
But as I reached for the bag, a label caught my eye. The label read my daughter's name. We looked at each other curious.
I helped her open the bag. Inside was a new dress, an easy bake oven, and several color books and games.
If you have ever wondered if the donations you give make a difference, let me assure you they do. Although I know Jesus is the reason for the season, those toys and clothes relieve the stress of a mother that cannot provide and joy to a child that had come to expect nothing.
You were Jesus to someone in need.
Fifteen years passed since that time. We have been blessed and have much more than we could ever have expected. We both remember it as one of the best Christmas' we ever had.
I pray you have Christmas to remember.
--- Copyright © 2008 Jamie Nicolelli and Heidi Stewart
I wrote this story about 7 or 8 years ago when my daughter and I were reminiscing about our favorite Christmas memories. My pastor found out about it and wanted to use that in his sermon.
I shared it on Facebook several times since for my friends and they tell this story so that people will contribute to Christmas child or church donations for the underprivileged.
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