Saturday, December 12, 2015

'I will never forget that special gift'

Auburn dale, Florida

My husband had been laid off earlier in the year and had been out of work for several months. I had never heard of The Christmas Jar. When I opened the front door Christmas morning there sat the jar and the book. I will never forget that special gift.

I had the pleasure of hearing Jason speak earlier this year at Stampin' Up Leadership. What an inspiration. I didn't put 2 and 2 together that he was the author of the book until later. He will forever hold a special place in my heart for the joy his book has brought so many, my family included.


Renee Hurn

'I still get teary eyed today think about our Christmas Angel'

David City, Nebraska

I had just gone through a divorce. My son and I had just moved out on our own. We were doing okay financially but things were tight. When I got home from work one night, I went out to plug in the Christmas lights and saw a gift bag and three presents on my doorstep. I tried to pick up the bag but it was so heavy!

When I got it inside, I opened it up and lifted out the jar of change. I immediately started to cry! Who would do such a thing for us! The presents were the Christmas Jar books and a Christmas board book for my son. I still get teary eyed today think about our Christmas Angel! This year we are giving a jar and hope to bring joy to someone else's Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2015

'Upon opening the card and reading this strangers words, I was instantly humbled'

Saint Joseph, Missouri

At an all time low point in my families life, someone handed me a "Christmas Jar" from an anonymous person that had included some cash and a personal note inside. Upon opening the card and reading this strangers words, I was instantly humbled, and I felt so blessed and thankful that someone felt so moved as to go out of their way during the busy holiday season to send some hope our way.

I knew it may not have seemed like a huge gift to some people, but after barely scraping by for many months, it was an unexpected and generous gift to my family and I. The note spoke of the confidence this person felt that I would someday, somehow, when able, pay it forward.

Two years have passed now, and while things are not always smooth, we have been abundantly blessed in many ways, our knowledge of the true reason for the season being one of them.

This is our second year being able to collect our change and to share with other families, to hopefully offer the same sliver of faith and hope, maybe a small promise of better days ahead, or even beacon of light in an otherwise dark room. All of the things this "Christmas Jar" brought to myself and my family.

'My 1st recipient was a lady that I've known since middle school'

Stephens City, Virginia

This is my first year participating in the Christmas Jar. Last year I read the book & absolutely loved the idea! I cleaned out an old pickle jar & started collecting change. 

My 1st recipient was a lady that I've known since middle school (we are in our 30's). She had a rough life growing up & is a single mom to 3 girls who has never received child support. She has held 3 jobs at the same time to provide for her family. She has a strong faith & always pushes forward. She is my HERO! Always there to help me in my time of need even though she's going through worse stuff than me.

When I started the Christmas Jar, I knew instantly she was getting the 1st jar. My dear friend lives in an apartment so I had to brainstorm how to get the money to her. Obviously I could not leave a jar in front of her apartment door. I decided on a VISA gift card. I mailed the gift card with the book. 

My dad has known my dear friend a long time too. He was moved by my Christmas Jar & he decided to send her $400!! Dad knows how hard my friend works & knows she would be so appreciative.

Luck would have it my friend reached out by text & FB to me as soon as she received her package. She asked if I sent the package. She said she was crying so hard her girls thought something bad happened. She was so thankful for the gift. I responded God must have known her need. I was so happy for her & Merry Christmas. I'm sad to say she figured out I was the one that sent the package. 

My friend was doubting if she was doing the right thing in her life. Once the Christmas Jar package arrived she had the confidence again that everything was going to work out. I heard from her today. Their house offer was accepted! She deserves this happiness. 

I am thankful for Jason & the Christmas Jars. My heart is happy knowing things are falling into place for my dear friend. 

That is what Christmas is all about! I love you my friend & hero. Merry Christmas to all! ♡

An original Christmas Jar poem from a jar recipient and giver

Sebastopol, California

I wrote a story in 2011 about a Christmas Jar left for my family.

I have given jars each year since. I have recently started writing poetry and I wrote this poem about getting the first jar 


The Christmas JarJohn Lyhne

Our final breaking point,
Hope, totally dried to dust.
Future bleak as ugly evening news,
alone as we can be.
Sealed off from the outside,
held inside by terror.
Unable to reach outward,
unable to be reached into.
Christmas and we’re all alone.
Alone, together but separate,
our daughters with us, alone.
Wife, mother, home from hospital.
Her spirit nearly broken,
with it goes mine.
No more nourishing hope.
We exchange halfhearted gifts.
Going out the front door,
a jar, book, note lying there.
Jar anointed, label handwritten,
“Christmas Jar” it reads.
“For your family, a jar,
a token of new hope”!
Tears begin to stream,
hearts swell up, pounding,
a renewed sense, connected.
Outside world reentering,
breaching our softened walls,
healing our loneliness,
our prison of desolation.

You cannot quite fathom,
our heart felt elation,
new lightness, a renewed joy.
A small jar, change, a few bills.
A tremendous reaching out,
lovingly, anonymously given,
healing wounds, long growing.
The Book, “Christmas Jars”,
The story of the first Christmas Jar.
A note, left with jar,
Suggesting we save our change.
Save, when we are able,
Collect our own jar of coins,
to surprise a new family,
Another hurting family.
A new “Christmas Jar”,
sweetest ray of hope,
frowns curled into smiles,
a new sense of connection.
We’ll search for another,
a lonely, needy family,
much too easy to find!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

'I'm forever grateful you chose me'

Logan, Utah

To the group of teenagers at Primary Children's Hospital 7 years ago:


On December 12th, 2008, you touched my life for the better. I was surrounded by loved ones in one of the waiting rooms at Primary Children's Hospital when I saw a group of you, just young teenagers, walking through the halls. You were giggling and being a little suspicious. You walked up to me and set a big jar of money on my lap and said "Merry Christmas" before rushing away.


I don't remember how much money was in the jar and I don't remember what all of you looked like. But I do remember the smiles on your faces and how you made me and everyone else in that waiting room feel. I'll never know why you decided to pick me when you must have walked passed countless others you could have given it to, but I'm forever grateful you chose me.


You didn't know this, but at that very moment, my precious 2 day old baby was undergoing a life-saving surgery to fix a birth defect he was born with. It was a hard and scary day for us filled with a lot of uncertainty and worry. I want you to know that you were our angels that day. You were our light in the dark and our good in the bad. You turned a negative experience into a positive one. You helped us experience the kind of joy that can only be felt during a hard time.


We were spending our Christmas season in a hospital a couple hours away from home, away from most loved ones, and away from everything else that makes Christmas feel like Christmas, and yet, I've never felt the spirit of Christmas as much as I did that year. You did that for me.


You see, it was never about the money to us. It was about the fact that you made us feel something that no amount of money can buy. You taught us that the gift of service can change a trial into a blessing. I don't think there is anything you can do for another person greater than that.


It's been 7 years, but I think about all of you often. I have always wanted to tell you how much your kindness meant to us and how grateful we are for each of you. We have been able to tell many people about your kindness and we pay it forward as often as we can. The little boy in this picture is that little baby that was in surgery that day.


His name is Krew and we are proud to say he is a happy and healthy little boy. Nothing would make us more proud than to see him grow up to be the kind of teenager you were that day. We all know how much the world needs people like you right now. You are the ones that truly make the world a brighter place.


I hope this message somehow finds you and I sincerely hope that whatever trials have come and will come into your life, that you will be blessed in the same way you helped bless us.


Love,

One grateful mom

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

'The child then hands someone the jar'

Ruston, LA

This is the 5th year of giving a Christmas jar. We save up all our change (mostly). We have been fortunate to be able to change the coins into bills twice a year. I paint "Christmas Jar" in red & green on a Mason jar, fill it up with coins & bills, pile the grandkids (all 5) into the van & proceed to the predetermined house. One of the kids takes the jar to the porch, rings the bell & runs back to the van.


On a couple of occasions there have been people outside. The child then hands someone the jar, wishes them a Merry Christmas & hops back into the van.


The first 2 years I didn't leave a book; now I do. This year we won't be home for Christmas. I'll deliver the jar a few days before Christmas & to someone I know. Before, I would hear of someone from friends or from church. This year will be tricky. He has roommates & will probably guess where it came from. Oh well!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

'Let's put God first in all instances'

Location Unknown

We reside in a small town in New Mexico, that the reason we don not wish to give our names. The Christmas Jar program we have been involved with about five years. We tell others about the Christmas Jar program in hopes it will be taken further in our area.

This is not a program to think about, partner, it's a ... getter done ... program for sure for the wife and I.

Do you have food on your table tonight??? Think about the people that don't have any food.

Let's put God first in all instances and then let's focus on the needy.



Sunday, December 6, 2015

'She was trying to support herself and three young children'

Location Unknown

A number of years ago, I gave the book,  "Christmas Jars" to each of my three children.  On the third Christmas of saving their change, my daughter and son-in-law were trying to decide who their recipient would be that year.  My son-in-law thought of a very sad looking cashier who had waited on him a number of times at the local Walmart, but he knew nothing about her.


One evening my daughter and her husband went out to dinner and this lady was working as a hostess at a restaurant in their small town.  The next day at Walmart he made a purchase and got in her checkout line.  He asked her why she was working two jobs.  She replied her husband was an alcoholic and she made him leave their home.  She was trying to support herself and three young children.  Her ten year old daughter had to take care of the younger children when she was not at home.


My husband quickly thought of a way to find out where she lived.  They lived in a mountain community and often used their fireplace to help heat their home.  He said he had some extra firewood and wondered if she could use some.  She answered that she would be very grateful.  He got her address and had to go home and chop firewood.


He delivered the firewood and a few days later left nearly one hundred dollars in her mailbox.


When I heard about their story, I said I would like to send her some money. When I told my other daughter she said she wanted to send money, also. My daughter said she wished she knew someone in another state who would send money and she would have money from four different states.


Having friends in may states, I started calling  and telling them the story. I said I would reimburse them if they would send ten dollars to her address. No one wanted to be reimbursed and I found sixteen friends who wanted to do it.  Just before Christmas my husband was in Walmart and she seemed pretty cheerful. He wished her a Merry Christmas and she thanked him and said it would be a good Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

'You were right the blessing of that gift is insurmountable'

Fort Valley, Virginia

I gave the books away for gifts last year for Christmas never having read the book for two reasons.

First, my eyes were bad and until a surgery saved my sight was unable to do so.

Secondly after I could my scuds was …time. I read the book..donated a gift set to our little country store owners..who feared as I explained..they read the book…then we started another jar.

You were right the blessing of that gift is insurmountable. Unexplainable.. thanks Jason Wright and the Wright family.

'Receiving this really made me feel good and not forgotten'

Fairview, Oregon


When I got to work today to start my long 12hr shift, I was surprised to find a package for me. When I opened it I was shocked to find a Jar and book.

I was just talking to my wife who is stressing being able to give our kids and nephew a good Christmas.


Receiving this really made me feel good and not forgotten.

I thank the LORD and my God bless whoever did this great thing for my family.


Nathan.






Sunday, November 29, 2015

'I opened the door to find a jar and book on my step'

Waukesha, Wisconsin

My husband was just recently diagnosed with terminal colon/rectal cancer with a large and very aggressive tumor which had already spread to his lymph glands behind his abdomen. We brought him home after a 3 week stay from the hospital with in-home hospice care with me being his primary caretaker.


He was home for 5 days and I was having a day of crying — it was a little past 7:30 pm when a knock was to my front door only to find no one there. I opened the door to find a jar and book on my step. I looked all around the yard and down the street to see if I could find the person that left it and saw nothing.


It brought me to more tears just to know that someone would do that for my family and to whoever the angel was that delivered it, I just want to let you know that it really meant a lot to know there are still good people in this world and to say THANK YOU !!!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

'It was a miraculous answer to prayer'

Merced, California

The Sunday before Thanksgiving our pastor pulled me aside to say he was asked to give me something. It was a Christmas gift bag that only had my name and asked if he could deliver it to me with God's blessings. It was heavy!

When I got home and opened it and saw all the bills and coins inside I was truly amazed! It was a miraculous answer to prayer! I lost my job when our company closed and my funds were quickly dwindling. I had just told my daughter the day before that I felt awful not to even be able to contribute to the family Thanksgiving feast. How humiliating!

But I had prayed every day that God would make a way to keep us going (I have 2 teenagers).


Early Christmas. The person put the book in the bag too…so I can pass it on when I get on my feet.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Poland, Ohio

I read the book the first year that it was written and have given at least one jar every year. My children and I have anonymously given bags of gifts at Christmas to families or children who are in need. The Christmas jar was a wonderful way for us to add to that or to find someone who was I need. 

As an oncology nurse, I have always viewed my interaction with patients especially as an "opportunity" to touch lives. I do feel like my purpose here I earth is simply to edify others and to glorify God. The Christmas jar is yet another "opportunity" to touch the lives of others around us. It is such a wonderful feeling to "secretly" give of your heart.

My children and I gave our first jar to a large family of four generations who had been living together Under one roof.


There were four children and none of them had beds. We got them all aerobeds and a large Christmas jar, as well as the book. The funny thing was, they took the beds back (one of the teens confided to my daughter, not realizing she was the one who had chose them to receive it). They immediately started their own jar.


We learned very early that there was a possibility that our benefactor may not pass it on or they may not use the money for good, but We wanted them to know that God loves them and so did someone else.


This year, I bought 30 books and etched a bunch of jars with the word, "Blessings", and I will be giving a jar and the book to each of my employees at the cancer centers where I work. My hope is that those 30 people will also feel loved and blessed as well. Maybe next year there will be lots of hearts that will be touched by 30 more Christmas jars!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

'Our Christmas Jar had come full circle'

St. George, Utah

It's been a tough year at the Stafford house. In July, our youngest son George, who had just turned 7, was diagnosed with cancer. Needless to say, this sort of turned our world upside down. We have to travel to Salt Lake every 3 weeks for chemo and/or radiation. Friends take in our other 3 kids so they don't have to miss school while we care for the little guy. Meals are brought in. Carpool is taken care of. We have seen our lives blessed in innumerable ways by so many people.

No one wants to be on the receiving end and it's been very humbling to realize that you really CAN'T get through something like this without the help of others. And no one waited to be asked…they just helped.

Every year for the past several years, we have delivered our Christmas Jar, usually on the Monday before Christmas. My husband and several others who are aware of our tradition suggested that this might be the year to just keep it for ourselves. But it just didn't feel right.
Then one evening as I was talking on the phone to my mom, the doorbell rang. Sure it was one of the neighbor girls, I yelled at my daughters to answer the door. They pretended not to hear me. So I was forced to drag my bones from my comfy chair and answer it myself.

There, on the porch, was a Jar. And a Book.

I just stood there, shocked. With some effort, I carried the jar, filled to capacity, into the house and announced to one and all that we had received a Christmas Jar. We dumped it out and started counting, while speculating on who the giver might have been. Rolled tightly inside the jar of coins were 6-fifty dollar bills, bringing the contents to over $500. For us. For Christmas.

The funny thing about it: We don't collect our coins in an ordinary Mason jar. I buy slightly larger jars and have my husband sandblast "Christmas Jar" on the side of it. The jar that was left on our door was one of our own. Our Christmas Jar had come full circle.

Our jar, the one we had been collecting change in, was delivered the following Monday to a family in the neighborhood whose husband had recently lost his job. And this time, we knew the feeling of opening the door, seeing a jar and a book, and feeling loved and cared for by an anonymous soul.

Jen Stafford

Saturday, December 27, 2014

'We never gave thought to how our pocket change could make a difference in someone's life'

Tifton, Georgia

The door bell rang and my wife goes to the door. She goes because I can't walk. I had a massive stroke of the brain stem on August 21, 2014. Our associate pastor was standing at the door with a jar full of money. As she came in she said that the jar of money had been dropped off at the Church for us. She said there was a website that I could go to and it would explain the "Christmas jars."

What a blessing and such a neat idea. We never gave thought to how our pocket change could make a difference in someone's life.

John David Minter 

'This year a young mother in our community committed suicide'

Chantilly, Virginia

I have given a jar away for many years. This year a young mother in our community committed suicide. My daughter asked if I had chosen the recipient of my jar yet. Instead of giving the grieving father the jar I purchased toys for the 5 year old son left behind along with a copy of the book. All three of my young adult children have jars too. 

We have a boat and it is named "Pay It Forward."

Marcie

'At first I was numb and speechless'

Council Bluffs, Iowa

I was working my part time job here in Council Bluffs on the evening of 12/23/14 when a very pleasant woman approached me and proceeded to ask me questions about my family. At first I was very apprehensive not knowing why this total stranger was being so curious and invasive about my personal life. She sensed that I was a little concerned and said that she would be right back with her family.

The next thing I knew, her husband and entire family came walking in and put a jar full of money on the counter and said that it was for me.

At first I was numb and speechless as to why these total strangers would be giving me this jar full of money. They asked me if I have ever heard of the “CHRISTMAS JARS”. I told them that I hadn’t and she explained that at the beginning of every year, her entire family empties their pockets of change every day into this jar. Then right before Christmas, they are guided by GOD to choose someone to receive this gift. Along with the jar was this book written by Jason F. Wright called the “Christmas Jars”.

I kept asking, “Why me???” I just did not understand how or why they came to me with this selfless gift of kindness. I tried to explain that I was so grateful but did not feel that I could accept it, knowing there are so many people in more need of this money than I, but they insisted that I have it. I tried to explain that I was not being ungrateful, but if they wanted me to keep it, could I pass it onto one of my co-workers who needed it so much more than I, and struggles daily just to survive and has no family.. She said that now they knew for sure, they had chosen the right person for this gift. So this is what I did.

When my co-worker came in to relieve me, I passed the jar onto her and explained the events of the evening and she could not believe or understand it any more than I was at this point… She kept asking,’ Why did they come here? Why did they come here?” The very same question that I am still asking myself over and over.

She is still in a state of shock and says that she cannot believe that this miracle came to her at a time she needed it most. She runs her fingers through the pile of coins everyday just to convince herself that this was not all a dream. She was able to buy groceries, catch up her electric bill and have enough quarters to do laundry for quite some time.

I was so humbled by this act of kindness that I am going to start my own jar for next year.
I would like to thank this family from the bottom of my heart. They have made this one Christmas I will not soon forget. The look of joy on my co-workers face is not one I will forget anytime soon. Bless you……………..

'As the mass ends and Nun is singing I sneak the jar'

Las Vegas, Nevada

The Jar gave me hope.

It's been a tough year in many ways and Our Christmas Jar filled up slowly. It sat in the usual hidden spot awaiting it's delivery. It was finally Christmas Eve and I did my best to fill the rest of the jar that morning which only totaled $62 our smallest amount ever. I placed it in my purse and left for midnight mass.

This is the first year since 2007 that I deliver it alone. I received a text from my 74 yr old mom about mass and she changes from pj's and comes with me. Mom has no idea about the jar hiding in my purse. The usher seats us next to a young Nun. As the mass ends and Nun is singing I sneak the jar that had a note inside explaining our tough year and although it was our smallest jar it was a tradition I could not give up on. I carefully pulled it out of my purse and placed it behind her coat.

Mom kept singing as well as the Nun and I the only eyes watching may have been a young girl sitting behind me. I am sure this young woman of faith will put th is small amount to good use. My plan next year is for a jar doubled the amount or more no matter how tough life is and feeling hopeful for my old delivery team to join me.

It has Always been our Christmas Mission.

'This is my 3rd year and each year I pray for guidance'

Syracuse, New York

This is my 3rd year and each year I pray for guidance. During the summer of this year I asked a man up the street if he might like to help me garden and I would so gladly pay him. He did a terrific job and he needed the money. Then my friend hired him, and her friend hired him. However, even with these small jobs he and his family were still struggling. So I took my jar down to their house. At first there was a refusal but I asked them to do it for me. And happily they accepted it. I know it made me feel good and I am sure it helped them with their Christmas.

Friday, December 26, 2014

'I am blessed with more than others'

Zephyr, Texas

This year has been pretty rough for us…i am blessed with more than others but struggling more than im used to…but someone did make my christmas extra special this year.

Someone left a jar in my mailbox with candy and two money trees but no card ..i would just like to thank this person for the generous gift. it ment so much to me. thank you to whom ever this was.

'I opened the lid of the mason jar and there was a 100 dollar bill inside'

Cary, North Carolina

I participated in Reddit's Secret Santa for the first time. I was so excited to see what my Secret Santa had in mind for me. I had just started a new job at a Doctor's office and needed to buy new clothes. My Secret Santa gift came the day before Christmas and there was a pretty mason jar decorated with purple glass beads. I thought this is pretty but I don't understand it. I also received a copy of the book Christmas Jars. I opened the lid of the mason jar and there was a 100 dollar bill inside. I screamed and cried!!! What a wonderful gift and a blessing from a stranger!! After the Holiday settles down I will be able to buy new pants and tops for my new job!! Thank you my Secret Santa friend!!!!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

'We both stared at each other jaws on the floor'

Amboy, Illinois

My husband lost his job at the start of December and then our car broke down. We were at wits end and losing faith. Christmas eve we spent the very last cent of our money on dinner. Christmas morning my husband came into my room and woke me up, he said there was a gift on our deck. I was like okay…I saw the book, and I couldn't lift the jar, he opened it. We both stared at each other jaws on the floor. I started crying, we both felt SO blessed. God bless whoever left the jar. Words can't explain how I feel.

Angie & Tim 

'Most of my life is alone and I cry myself to sleep'

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

I am on SSDI, and, handcappied, pay my bill and only get $ 49.00 Food Stamps. So I do without. Yes I am crying getting this. I was Here on Christmas, alone. Again with my dogs, no family, to be with. I use to have a Shop and did help the needy. Most of my life is alone and I cry myself to sleep. I pray and take one day at a time. Because I believe Heavenly Father Loves us all. I have never heard of this before, it is a God send, and Bless them all. 

LOVE, TAYMORE

Shelly Tigner 

'I am walking with a heart full of Grief and loss'

Guilford, Connecticut

As the man hands me the jar
He whispers their is money inside.
Tears well up in my eyes.
I am walking with a heart full of Grief and loss,
Generosity and love don't live here anymore.
Life has dealt me a wicked blow,
And survival is all that I think about.
As I drive away my tears continue.
Not opening the jar yet,
I assume maybe the extra will
Buy my son his favorite pizza on Christmas.
Arriving home I finally open the jar.
It is the letter I read first,
And with it I am overwhelmed by what I count.
I break down with my head against the steering wheel.
Who could be so giving?
Who could be so loving?
And who decided to give this to us?
I have been dreading Christmas.
With no money to buy presents,
My 13 year old son knows the stress behind my eyes.
He says mom don't worry,
I don't need anything.
But within his brave face is a lost boy.
Wearing the sadness of losing his father,
Dealing with his autism the best he can.
Trying to fit in at a rich kids school.
I can't fight his battles,
Only try to soften the blows.
As I start to realize what this gift means to us,
I think of a prayer I had said the night before.
Please God, please help us during this hard time.
Angels appear in many forms.
And with the jar,
certainly an angel came to me.
For now their will be presents,
The electric bill paid,
And food to take us through the holiday.
So when I think about the person,
who so generously gave us this gift.
My mind drifts to
Angels and God,
I cannot help,
but believe they are real.

'10 days ago I lost the most special person in the world'

Salina, Colorado

I knew nothing of these jars and the lovely stories until Christmas Eve. Someone left me and my husband two jars and your book.

10 days ago I lost the most special person in the world. My twin sister. She was a person that the world will miss as much as I will. She had a smile that lit up the world, her friends, and everyone that met her. As twins, we used to joke that she was the butterfly and I was the bee. 

For the last two years, I was so lucky to have the support of my husband, to leave my own job and family and travel across the country to be with my twin, 17 times! This allowed me to see her and to spend precious time with her and to not have any regrets. 

All of this was going on as we were recovering from a very hard few years. My husband lost his job, I was in a horrible accident, I was diagnosed with cancer and was in a horrible mudslide and a devastating flood disaster that almost killed me, my husband and our pets. 
Life throws a lot of twists and turns. I think they all lead us to follow a better path or journey in life. To have a better understanding of what others are enduring. 

I learned how important it is to live in the present and to accept help from others, as well as, to give as much as possible. 

I will start my own jar. I will pass this along to someone in need.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'The women rolled down her window and her children handed me a jar'

Bradenton, Florida

It is Christmas eve and I was outside with my 2 daughters and my nephew when a car came up to me, the women rolled down her window and her children handed me a jar and the Christmas Jar book.


I had no idea what it was for. I said thank you and I would read the book. Once I read the book I couldn't believe how thoughtful it was! I will definitely be doing it next year! God bless you!

'I just wanted to thank the generous angel that was looking out for us'

Las Vegas, Nevada

It's December 24, Christmas eve. I moved here 6 months ago from illinois to be as far away from my abusive ex husband. 

Since moving here it's been a struggle financially but I always try to remain positive. I have 4 children - 12, 13, and 16. My son is in illinois. He's 22 and the three living with me are girls and adopted.

I have connected with Hope church - I love it and my children love it too.

Today on Christmas eve about 11:00 a.m. my door bell rang and a gentleman had dropped a package at my front door. Before I knew it he and a woman drove off .I really thought they had the wrong house because I didn't recognize them. So I brought this heavy package inside.

I took out the wrapping paper to see this huge jar of coins and a wad of paper money I began to count it. $560 in paper money and so many coins. My children are still counting!! 

To have been given this blessing my first thought was I don't deserve this there's someone worse off than me!!

I've prayed to God everyday for what I have. I worry about bills and Christmas presents... feeling blessed for what I do have. But this blessing was truly a miracle. You have no idea how much I needed this. But I am going to surprise a random person with a gift and share my blessing.

I just wanted to thank the generous angel that was looking out for us. I'm still crying. Praise Jesus!!! Your kind generous spirit saved me!! Thank you so much I love you brother and sister in Christ!!!

'I'm in awe of God right now and how he always takes care of his children'

Sallisaw, Oklahoma

Okay!! I have to share my own Miracle on Christmas Eve! As most of you know, I am a single mom trying to do ALL I can for my kids. The struggle of a single mom is real and so very hard, but I wouldn't change anything because I get to spend every moment with them. 

Anyways, this Christmas I did what I could to get my kids new decor for our tree (personal reasons), wrapping paper for presents that I didn't buy my kids, lil $1 stocking stuffers and things for our house that was needed. Through it all I didn't pay an electric bill that I have been stressing over and if not paid, my shut off date would be on the 30th.

Last Thursday around 8:30pm I had an elderly man ring my doorbell asking for Danielle Kelley. After telling him that was me he then told me that he he was given this gift to bring to me and how I was a hard person to catch because it was the 4th trip he had made down here to give me this gift. He then gave me the gift, wished me and my family a Merry Christmas and then said God Bless.

I put the gift under the tree and didn't think about it again because I had other things and worries on my mind. Tonight I unwrapped this anonymous gift and tears filled my eyes. I was gifted with this Christmas card, this book and this jar filled with money that quadrupled the amount of my electric bill!

For anyone who says there aren't Angels that walk among us, No such thing as Miracles or A God who takes care of his children… You are sadly mistaken!! I'm in awe of God right now and how he always takes care of his children! I can now pay my electric and get my kids gifts.

Danielle Kelley

'This is a tradition that will continue with my family forever'

Cedar City, Utah

Tonight my wife and I were surprised with a Christmas jar! Things have been tough this year and we have been a little short on money. We are so grateful to whoever had us on their mind and in their heart. May the Lord bless you for your kindness and generosity.

This is a tradition that will continue with my family forever.

'Knowing that we don't have to feel all alone is magical'

Aurora, Colorado

I have been working at Target for 3 years. I started working there for some extra money. I have 3 kids my youngest is special needs. Two years ago on the 23rd of December at a routine MRI they found a tumor in her brain. That was a rough Christmas.

Fast forward to now. We have had quite a year. My daughters tumor has grown she has lost the sight in one eye her balance has become worse and insurance has refused to pay for anymore MRIs. My older kids understood that we needed another MRI so we wouldn't be having any gifts under the tree this year. Well today a family came in to target and gave me a Christmas jar and the book. I don't think I will ever forget them. I have no idea if or how they found out the setbacks we have had but we will be forever grateful.

We read the book as soon as I was home from work. It wasn't about the money to me or my children. Knowing that we don't have to feel all alone is magical. Thank you! We will be starting our own jar on the first of the year. My kids have already started talking about how we can deliver it.

'Bless your heart'

Boothwyn, Pennsylvania

I work at Walgreens & I was on my 30 minute break & I was just standing around on my phone listening to music and all of a sudden a beautiful women in a chic fil a uniform approached me & handed me a black gift bag & walked away I wasn't sure what to expect or say I was lost for words. So I just looked in the gift bag & noticed a jar of money & a book & that was when she came out the store & I just thanked her for giving me that Christmas feeling I was missing that's when she told me to read the book so I just called my cousin & told him about the gift I just received. I'm off work now so i will continue to read the book & make a wise decision with the money. It makes me want to do the same for someone next year thank you I hope you read this. Bless your heart.

'The thrill is beyond belief'

Henderson, Nevada

This is my 5th year of saving all year long and giving a Christmas Jar away.

Moving to a new state, I was a little worried about finding a recipient and I waited till last week to seek out the perfect candidate for the jar. I joined a new church and visited the church to seek a name. The church people didn't disappoint me one bit and an address came quickly. Boy was I glad. We scoped out the place beforehand and delivered it Christmas Eve day. This time it was my hubby turned..knocked on the door..he said Merry Christmas.

And off we drove…..the thrill is beyond belief. Thank you, Jason for writing your book and sharing the story with the whole world. This give away money jar is the true meaning of Christmas. Today I begin again to save for 2015 Christmas Jar.

'It is a lot more than pocket change to us'

Iowa City, Iowa

I was leaving the Ronald McDonald House to go see My son, Cooper, at the University of Iowa Childeren's Hospital two days before Christmas 2014 and I was approached by someone in the parking lot asking if I volunteered at the Mac House or if I was staying there. 

I answered that I was a guest and she told me that they had a gift for me. To be honest, I was half expecting a blanket or gift basket, so I wasn't prepared for the story she told. With her daughter, who looked to be in her upper teens, and a friend of her daughter in tow, she told me about the Christmas Jar they were holding.

It is a large, very simply decorated jar (gallon size, maybe bigger) they fill change all year long and give it to another family at Christmas time. I really couldn't believe it. She told me they had been doing it for several years and that they were just happy to help folks like us.

A few years back her husband required a liver transplant, which he did receive and is now happy, healthy, and free of liver disease. It is just their way of giving back.

I did my best to tell our story choking back tears and asked for an address and names to send a thank you card or something. Anything. She politely declined and said all they wanted was for us to read the book included called Christmas Jars and keep the tradition going when we are able.

After some teary hugs of thanks, they drove away in a car every bit as old as mine, honking and waving back to me. Talk about angels. I guess I got picked because I was the first guy out of the door. I have no idea how much is in the jar, but it is a lot more than pocket change to us.

Inside the front cover of the book, the inscription reads.

"To our new Christmas family, May this "Christmas Jar" bring new hope to you and your family this holiday season, From our family to yours, Merry Christmas! 2014"

I am sure after reading the book I will better understand better why they wanted to remain anonymous.

More about us: On October 31st, 2014, our son Cooper came into this world 3 months earlier than expected. It was the scariest Halloween trick or treat of our life. He weighed only 1 lb 11 oz and was just 12.5" long. He had a good start through what they call the honeymoon period but his lungs were very much underdeveloped and he had a common issue with an open duct in the heart that wasn't helping matter.

We have been by his side constantly, living at the Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City because we were in the middle of relocating from Moline, IL to Dallas, TX for my job. He has had his ups and downs and very dark days, but he has rallied and has strung together lots of good days. We may be able to take him home in a few months once his lungs heal if there are no other setback.

God sends us angels when we need them. He sent them this time with a jar and story. Let's keep tradition and human kindness alive.

Robert, Lisa, and Cooper Burnett

Monday, December 22, 2014

'I went down and woke my wife I gave here the biggest hug that I could muster'

Riverton, Wyoming

On Dec. 21st 2014 I was cleaning up my kitchen while my 4 children were watching a Holiday movie and my wife had already laid down for the night (she had to go in at 2am the next day) there was a knock on our front door. As usual when the door knocks all the kiddos want to race to answer it, this night was different it was probably around 8pm, but their holiday break started the next day so they were up, but didn't race to the door.

I answered it, a man introduced himself as a deputy sheriff or someone who worked for the local system, cant remember his title, but that he gets picked to deliver things. So here I am thinking I'm about to be served with something civil/legal or whatever, and racking my brain because I know I have no reason to be.

Oh yeah I forgot to mention he asked for me by my name, and had difficulty pronouncing my last name as most do, so I knew that he was sent for me. And man was I served he explained to me that there was an older man that wanted me to have this, and he handed me a jar full of money and the book "Christmas Jars".

I didn't know what to say or do I started tearing up right then shook the mans hand and in a shaky voice thanked him and wished him a Merry Christmas. After the excitement from the kiddos calmed which surprisingly only took a few moments, I went down and woke my wife I gave here the biggest hug that I could muster and we held each other for a couple minutes, both overwhelmed with joy, and an unfamiliar feeling of love, love from a distance an unexpected gift such as our Christmas Jar warmed both our hearts.

I went upstairs with the jar and just looked at it rotated it around and saw it full of coins and one dollar bills and a few fives and tens, just looked with amazement and awe I was in the presence of God at that moment, not because of a jar full of money, but because of such a selfless, loving, sacrificial act, that I was experiencing!

I noticed that several of the bills were rolled tightly and tied with a single small piece of ribbon, as I began to empty the jar the symbolism and meaning of that became clear. Each bill was a small gift, but being rolled so tightly made it possible to fit more in the jar! Talk about going the distance to better another's life.

So I set the jar aside not rushing off to count the money, I HAD to read this book. So I did I read the whole thing that night, couldn't put it down until I was finished. Wow what a beautiful story. The money will help but when its spent it will be gone, but I will have that book forever and as well as the beautiful message in the story. I will share it with my children let them understand why it is better to give than receive. Such a wonderful feeling and value, and by far the most rewarding experience one can ever feel.

So whoever you are that thought of me and my family this year to bless with your commitment of how ever long you fill your jar for thank you, Merry Christmas and God Bless you as well. I look forward to putting my spare change in a different kind jar this year and all the years to come!

Sincerely,

Tim

'The man on the other end told me to go look on my front porch'

Location Unknown

Tonight while sitting with my kids at the kitchen table I got a call from a private number and the man on the other end told me to go look on my front porch. I went out and there I found a jar and a batch of home made cookies. Lately I've been struggling being a single mom with another baby on the way and I was just overcome with joy and being so thankful that there are still good people out there. My kids were so excited and I Will forever be thankful for the amazing act of kindness.

Stephanie Hornal

'I am so thankful that we experienced our first Christmas Jar Miracle'

Houston, Texas

It was the beginning of December and I had not been home for several weeks.  I was spending some much needed time with my Dad (in Idaho). Since Mom passed away two years ago he has been so sad.


With Christmas fast approaching I thought it would be a good idea to involve my dad in something that would help to get his mind off of his own sorrows.  I knew that if I were at home (Texas) I would be looking for an opportunity, together with my family, to play the part of “Secret Santa” for someone in my community. It is a tradition that has brought us so much joy in past years, but it usually involves a lot of planning, shopping, wrapping, and a few nights of secret “knock and run” deliveries! I did not have much time so I knew that we would need to get busy… and quick.

I did not personally know anyone in this area that needed our help so I started off by asking the bishop at church. I knew he was a very busy man (especially this time of year) and when I did not hear back from him right away I began to think that maybe this year my "gifts" would be the time I was spending with Dad, far from my own home. Still, I continued to have a desire to do more. 
Several days passed and that is when I began to seriously consider the idea of making my first “Christmas Jar”.  I knew Dad and I would not have time to fill it with everyday “spare change”, but we could surely fill a jar together… the question was, “Who should we give it to?

On the 10th of December I had a question I needed answered that day, so I called the Relief Society president from Dad’s ward. I thought I might also ask her if she was aware of any members who could use a hand or a little lift this Christmas. I was not aware that she was out of town, so I left her a message thinking she would call me back later that same day.


Fast forward two days. Now I am realizing that I have only four more days with my dad and I’ll be heading home to spend Christmas with my husband and children. Secret Santa?  Christmas Jars?  NOT going to happen at this stage.
THAT is when the miracle began to unfold…


The Relief Society president (we’ll call her Cindy) lives very close to my dad. I had often seen her jogging or passing by but I had never seen her out walking her dogs. Today she was walking her dogs when one of them decided to take a “detour”. He ran off and ended up on the back porch of Dad’s house at the very moment I was standing near the sliding glass door. Cindy came chasing after her dog, and when we made eye contact at the door, I stepped outside to say hello. She told me that when her dog ran to the back of our house she then remembered that I had called and left her a message. She apologized for not calling me that day and then shared how her daughter had just returned home from a mission and that they had driven several hours to try and find college housing for the winter semester. She was pretty overwhelmed having just returned home, with shoulder surgery scheduled three days later and recovery that would take her beyond Christmas.

I had FOUR MORE DAYS in Idaho.... but I still felt inspired to ask if she knew someone that we might do a Christmas Jar for. She got "that look" in her eyes. "Seriously?” she asked. “I DO know someone who could use a little help this Christmas. I JUST got a text THIS MORNING."

- Four weeks and I never see this neighbor with her dogs.- I keep having this nagging feeling about finding SOMEONE to share a Christmas Jar with.- Her dog runs off...and ends up near the door I am standing on the other side of that morning?- She learns of a need just an hour or so before our "chance meeting"  Hmmmmm.....


We BOTH knew this was not a coincidence, and we felt that familiar spirit when the Lord steps in, in an obvious way to direct our lives and helps us answer the prayers of others. 
Cindy was busy helping her college-bound daughter, she had another missionary in Texas she was thinking of and trying to support, she was concerned about meeting the needs of other sisters in her ward, and she had just gotten home and was having surgery in 3 days. When she asked, "You are so-o busy… are you sure?" I knew I had to say yes.

Several days before Dad had mentioned to me that he did not really need anything for Christmas and that it would be better if his children did something for someone else that needed it more. That got me to thinking...

I emailed my siblings and his grandchildren to see if anyone wanted to contribute to a Christmas Jar as our gift to him this year. It was neat to see how quickly family responded!  Even grandchildren with young families contributed 10 dollars here or 15 dollars there. One granddaughter replied, "We'll send $20!" A few hours later she messaged me again, "My kids want to send $15 more!" That was my favorite message. I have a sister who is a single mom with five children still living at home. Money is usually tight and they talked as a family about what they thought they could contribute. They all agreed to break open their family money jar, which was full of mostly pennies, nickels and dimes they have tossed in there for a long time. They had a great time counting all of their coins together and donating the lot!  All $88 dollars!


Remember, I wanted to involve my dad, so I had to be clever because I did not want to spoil HIS Christmas gift from his children and grandchildren.  I told him about my experience with Cindy and how I wanted to make a Christmas Jar for a special family in need. I invited him to contribute. We filled a small jar with the “gold dollars” he had saved. (dollar coins that are gold in color).

I never told him how much money I really had (and thankfully he never asked!) and together we packed coins and bills into three jars!  He seemed to really enjoy coming up with fun ideas about how to arrange the money into our jars. (I did not have time to find “the perfect jar” so I rummaged through an old shed and found 3 jars my mom had saved that worked perfectly!)  

In just four days I was able to gather, package up, and secretly deliver our three Christmas Jars filled with $700!… with a few other treats.  It was awesome!  Our hope was to help a single mother who was struggling to see her own value. It was much less about the money and so much more about helping her to recognize that she is loved, cared for, and valued!  I hope our gift had the desired effect. 

I am going to have to keep this tradition alive.  As we save, over the coming months, to fill another jar it will remind us to keep a look out for someone to share it with next Christmas!  This Christmas tradition can also serve as a reminder that the greatest gifts come from our Savior, Jesus Christ, and that as we share HIS love with others we can “lift the hands that hang down”.

I am so thankful that we experienced our first Christmas Jar Miracle and I know that there are more miracles in store for many others… both those who give and those who receive a Christmas Jar.

PS  I took pictures of our jars, of my dad and daughter working together to fill them, even of our $20 bills folded into hearts! Together with the pictures I made a card for Dad explaining how our “gift” to him will bless the lives of someone else this Christmas, AND that there was much more in those jars than he had thought or imagined, thanks to the generous hearts of his posterity. He’ll get to open it on Christmas morning. I believe it will be a Christmas to remember… for all of us.