As parents and grandparents, we so often see the bad in our culture and worry about our families, the oncoming generations, how we raised our children, and what or whom they and our grandchildren are and will become. I have two beautiful daughters and six amazing grandchildren. I must share this story which exemplifies God’s love, grace and the true meaning of Christmas. This story is about one of my daughters and one of her sons. Their actions were not just a gift to others, but a special gift to me…. gift that I will remember forever regardless of how simple it may seem.
Christmas is a time of spiritual reflection based on the essential foundations of the Christian faith. It is also a celebration. At Christmas, Christians celebrate God’s love for the world through the birth and gift of the Christ child, Jesus. (Riggleman, 2019). God gave us the greatest gift we could ever receive. How do we as Christians, continue such a tradition and not fall prey to the monetary giving of wrapped gifts that Christmas has become? “Giving freely means giving without reservations, without strings attached or any expectations of being given anything in return. Giving abundantly means giving often and from a place where you feel that you have enough of what you want to give — a smile, a hot meal, a moment from your day — for yourself and for others.” (Hazlett & Oldershaw, 2018). This is what makes giving a gift rather than a burden. When you freely give the rewards, include feelings that will be joyous, and each person involved will experience exultation and peace as they never have before. It is because of this that I share this story.
Have you ever been Christmas shopping and stood in a line that looked like this? Imagine yourself standing in line with your young, impatient pre-adolescent son for a very long time to purchase those “special gifts” at a great price especially if you yourself have had a challenging financial year. You are now 10th in line, have a 40% off coupon on your cell phone and late to get to your next appointment.
You observe a nicely dressed elderly gentleman asking others in line if he could use their phone and then you realize that after rejection, he is going to target you for assistance. You quickly observe that the gentleman has a hard time hearing and has no phone. He explains to you that his wife is having difficulty in the parking lot and his car won’t start. He attempts to explain that he has left his phone at home and has no way to get help. Others in line seem disgruntled at this man and his needs because they are in a hurry and don’t trust or want to be bothered. He provides you his AAA number and asks that you call them for assistance.
You see everyone else turning their back on this gentleman and knows that you are the only hope. All you can think of is that you don’t have time for this and that you shouldn’t allow anyone, especially this time of year to use your phone. Besides, you have waited forever in line, will lose your place and if you go outside to use your phone you won’t be able to access your 40% off coupon that is on your phone. Upon his approach, you know it is your turn to decide, possibly losing your place in line, sacrificing your coupons, and risk being scammed by a Christmas elder scammer targeting your kindness to scam you for gosh knows what.
When my daughter called me to share the story, she was joyous. I was confused. Presently, she is having a difficult time, personally and financially. I immediately asked her why she was so happy. She shared, “Mom, you will never believe what happened today.” Of course, I asked her to continue. She shared her frustration in the retail store’s line and how others had turned their back on this older gentleman. Then she shared both her and her son’s actions with me. I couldn’t have been more jubilant, filled with the Christmas spirit and pride as her mother and his grandmother. I can tell you in earnest that I had never felt this before. It was more significant than any gift I could have received.
Acknowledging the gentleman, he shared his AAA number with her and then she called them. AAA explained that it would be an hour and 50 minutes before they could be there. The gentleman said he needed assistance with his wife in the parking lot. My grandson was given my daughter's phone for the discount app and her credit card. My daughter quickly shared with him how to do the transaction and told him to do so, and continue standing in line for the purchase. She went to the parking lot, assisted the gentleman’s wife, and told them not to worry that she would stay with them until help came.
By this time in the story, I am quietly balling on the phone. My daughter described my grandson as he came outside with a smile holding the package, protecting the receipt, and credit card in his hand. He had successfully purchased the bag of gifts and made his mother proud as well as himself. He felt grown up enough to handle the situation and, to my surprise, was. The four of them went to a next-door coffee shop and waited until AAA came. They quickly become friends. My daughter missed her work appointment and getting her son to whatever activity he was supposed to be participating in on this day, but she knew he was learning something much more important.
Yesterday, my daughter called me and shared something the couple had sent to her. The note read,
“It is so good to know that there are still good people in this world. You surely are one of them. There are no words to say how much we appreciate your kindness. We learned a big lesson – never to leave our home again without our cell phone. “Big Mistake.”
May the Lord bless you and your family this beautiful season and may you enjoy many years of our wonderful Savior’s blessings. We think of you as an angel!”
In addition, they sent her a gold coin with a guardian angel on it, their names and information to contact them. Even though my daughter never found out how to re-communicate with them on that day, they searched for her.
While writing this, I reached out to the couple and called them. I shared an emotional conversation thanking them for what they had done for my daughter and grandson. You see, they gave my family and
myself the greatest Christmas gift ever. I could leave this earth tomorrow and know that my daughter knows the Lord. She has a giving heart that she will pass on to her children. I know that I am blessed to have witnessed the fruits of her Father’s and my efforts and beliefs. Merry Christmas!
Jennie Griggs, Founder of Aging Collective
Hazlett, L., & Oldershaw, L. (2018, December 28). Character blogs - generosity. Retrieved December 22, 2019, from https://www.scholarsandstorytellers.com/character-blogs-generosity
Riggleman. (2019, September 06). What is the meaning of Christmas? Retrieved December 22, 2019, from https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-the-meaning-of-christmas.html