Tis the season for giving. I try to teach my children that there is more joy in giving than receiving. Today will be a great lesson in giving.
My Guy grew up without much. He still remembers how hard it was for his mother, a single mother of 5, to make ends meet, especially at Christmas. Now, a grown man, enjoying the spoils of success, he made a commitment to himself to give back and to make Christmas special for children in need. 15 years ago he created a charity that takes care of two bridge homes for kids at Christmas and we have been fortunate enough to help and watch as his small Christmas miracle happens every year.
Heartbreaking are the Christmas lists the children make out every year that read, "I want my mom to come back" or "I want my family together for Christmas" along with the requests for warm winter jackets and gloves. This year the kids asked for the same things along with a few requests for North Face jackets and Ugg boots. These requests fill my heart with sorrow. Not because they are for the "name brand" material things that kids so desire, because they tell me they wish to be like every other kid in more ways than one. "They are getting EVERYTHING," My Guy declared, knowing that even if temporarily, he can ease some of their Christmas angst.
So his team shopped for North Face jackets and Ugg boots in various styles and colors and XBox 360's for the group homes and the latest games. My Guy and the rich corporations he works with and people who fund them take pride in making sure these kids get what they desire. Then they are lovingly wrapped and packaged up, ready for delivery. Today is delivery day, but the final piece of the puzzle I am fortunate enough to be in charge of. I will take my daughter this morning to the local supermarket and fill two shopping carts, one for each home, for the Christmas day feast.
Breakfast and dinner are on the menu so I will fill the cart with eggs, bacon, bread, milk, ham and turkeys, so that these kid will know that there really is a Santa Claus who cares. Then we will deliver them to the bridge homes, along with the bags of gifts, each one marked with each child's name, so that their Christmas is complete. I even get to see the excitement on the faces of the older ones who think they know what is inside those big green bags. That feeling is worth more than any gift I could receive on Christmas.
My Guy isn't one who loves Christmas like I do, "too many bad memories", he says, but I know the truth. The truth is, he is filled with more joy knowing that these kids will have a good day and that he had a small part in making sure. Last year, while he was making the delivery, a young boy stopped him at the door and said, "Are you Santa Claus?" My Guy, lump in his throat, responded. "No, I'm not Santa, but I work for him." That just about filled him for the whole year. At our own Christmas feast, when we join hands for the blessing, we think about the kids at those homes, enjoying their feast, and give thanks to all who made it possible. And the lump in My Guy's throat and the tear in his eye that he tries so hard to hide, tell me that he is a very rich man indeed.
In more ways than one.