Monday, December 15, 2014

'I am so overwhelmed that I get tears every time I think of it'

Wichita, Kansas:

I was sitting in my chair playing a game on my computer, watching my daughter sleep.  She doesn't feel well and fell asleep on the couch.  My son was in his room going through his closet getting out the clothes that are too small.  It was silent in my house, not a common thing.

Someone knocked on my door, my dogs started barking and I got up to answer the door. By the time I got the dogs back and opened the door, I saw a shadow running across the street.  She got into a big truck and they quickly drove away.  I looked down to find a gift bag, inside of the bag there was a card addressed to me and my children, a book, and a jar with a big red ribbon.

Completely caught off guard, I brought it all inside and opened it up. The card was unsigned, the book Christmas Jars, and a jar full of money. $348.30 to be exact. All I could do was cry.

I am so overwhelmed that I get tears every time I think of it. How generous of someone to give me a jar full of cash.

My story, I am a single mom. I have been divorced for about 7 years now. Last January I started nursing school and my work hours got cut back to 24 hours a week due to my clinical rotation. On December 17, 2014, I will receive my LPN pin. In January I take the state board exam and I will officially be a nurse! It has been a rough year and I am very thankful for all of the support I have. My plan is to further my education and get my bachelors degree and be a traveling nurse.

I can't even begin to describe the gratitude I am feeling right at this moment. I don't know who left me this jar, but I am so blessed that you thought of me and my children.

I look forward to continuing this tradition. It may not be for a year or two, but I look forward to helping someone in need as they have helped me.

I have already read over half of the book. I am thankful for the money, but the restored faith in mankind is what is truly the blessing. It is so nice to know that there are good people left in the world. It makes it easier for me to move forward in my path and keep the tradition of the Christmas Jars going.

Again thank you to my angel and may God bless you.

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 8, 2014

'I came across a young girl pushing a baby in her shopping cart'

Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania:

I received the book last year at Christmas. I requested a book by another author but the giver confused it with Wright. Of course I was grateful for the book and after reading it I decided it was no mistake. It touched my heart and I immediately started saving in a mason jar to give this year.  

Now a year later I took the jar with me when I was out shopping and wondered who I would be led to give it to. I came across a young girl pushing a baby in her shopping cart and noticed her checking prices on everything she looked at. I decided to give the gift to her and she so thankfully accepted it. She said she would pray for me and we parted.

Some of the stories I read here are so touching and moving and I felt that mine was not as important and was not going to share it. After thinking about it I decided that it was I who received the gift as it is a blessing to me to know that someone remembers me in prayer!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

'We came home from church to find a box sitting on our front steps'

Danville, Illinois:

At the end of May 2013, I lost my teaching job due to budget cuts. I was unable to get a teaching job for that fall, but I was able to collect unemployment. Just before Christmas, I found out that I would no longer receive unemployment because the extension of benefits was not included in the federal budget.  This put a lot of pressure on my husband, who was in a commission only paying job.

In mid-August 2014, the pressure was just too great, and he was let go from his job. The pressure had also caused my husband to have medical issues which caused him to be hospitalized for a week in November. Thankfully, he has been able to get unemployment during this time, and I am working for a friend part-time, but we are still struggling.

However, last night, December 3, 2014, we came home from church to find a box sitting on our front steps. I had a hard time lifting it, so I asked my husband to help. My son was very excited to begin opening the gift. In the box was a gift bag filled with all sorts of treats for Ethan, who is four - 2 activity books, 2 candy-filled candy canes, a box of candy canes, a reading book, and a paper bag that was very heavy. 

We opened the paper bag to find a gallon sized pickle jar filled with change, the book Christmas Jars, and a gift card for a local gas station.

I cried as I looked at what God had laid on someone's heart and mind to give us.  I took the jar to the bank this morning where the teller thought I was just bringing in shopping money.  I was able to share the story with her, two other tellers, and the manager. They had chills as I shared the story and as the first teller put the change into the counter.  A few seconds later, she came back with three more gift cards and a roll of cash.

Her words to me were, "Someone must love you very much."

I cried again, and even as I sit here at work, typing my story, I am crying. I am also excited to see what we are able to give to someone else next year.

We have been blessed beyond measure and "thank you" seems so inadequate.

Rachel Rice

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

'The amount of money collected won't make a dent in their bills'

Chesterfield, Virginia:

I was inspired by this notion of a Christmas Jar last year (2013), which I had not heard of until someone graciously gave one to my sister-in-law (a single mom of an adopted special needs child) who needed some extra help.  

I have been saving my change all year, will be giving to a family who has had a rough time this year (wife has an LVAD, husband has had heart surgery, he was also laid off from his job and now works at wal-mart and wife continues to have multiple visits to the hospital).

The amount of money collected won't make a dent in their bills, but hopefully the anonymous gift will raise their spirits during this season of giving.

May the knowledge of the Birth of Christ bring them peace during the difficult times. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

'I took a jar and put change from my piggy bank'

Winchester, Virginia:

My neighbor is a good and funny friend. His name is Brayden and he is five and has a bump (Ewings Sarcoma cancer). I took a jar and put change from my piggy bank in it to fill it half way, and my family is putting extra change in it also, and it is almost full.

We are giving his family the jar to help pay for their gas and other stuff while they have to travel to DC for his medicine (chemotherapy) all the time. It makes his hair fall out and he has to wear a mask to keep out germs. I hope they feel happy when they see the jar on their porch along with the book Mommy has.

I have friends that are making them a jar, too. Christmas is about Jesus and feeling good to give.

(age 6)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

'My kids could not stop giggling'

Shenandoah County, Virginia:

Last night I got some friends and my kids and we delivered a jar to a family in need. They have had some health problems and the dad has been out of work for a long time. We picked them also because they do SO MUCH GOOD FOR SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE! They probably give away Christmas Jars to people, even when they maybe should keep it.

Before we delivered it we thought it was a little lighter than we wanted so went to the bank and asked for a few rolls of change to fill it up. By the time we jammed in a couple bills it had more than 200 dollars!!

We waited until dark and turned off the headlights and drove through the neighborhood a couple times to case the joint!!! I can't believe how excited we all were!!!

After we were totally sure we would not be seen, we parked a couple streets away and walked quietly down the street like sneaky little elves. The kids got to put the jar on the porch and then got a head start running away before one of the adults knocked really loud.

Bang bang bang! It was thrilling! We ran so fast down the sidewalk and down the street and all the way to the car. We raced away and in the backseat my kids could not stop giggling.

I don't know exactly what they will do with the money but I know it will help. Also I know my entire gang will never forget that night. There is NOTHING better than helping others with a Christmas Jar. We will give one away next year and every year!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

'Dad, you need to open your eyes and see this!'

Herriman, Utah:

A handful of years ago, I ran across a book titled Christmas Jars during the holidays that looked like an easy read. I purchased the book, brought it home, and was able to read it in one afternoon. I loved the story, and the message it gave me.

But wow… If I only knew then how much that book would change my life.

I knew this would be something my dad would love to read also. For Christmas that year, I gave him a copy of that book and a small mason jar to go with it. I Put a few candies in the jar for him to enjoy while reading. That Christmas afternoon, Dad went home and I didn’t hear from him the rest of the day.

The next day, Dad called me. He said the book I had given him was the most wonderful gift, and that he had not been able to put it down. He had gone home the previous afternoon and finished reading the entire thing. He said it changed his life, and he wanted to share it with everyone he cared about.

Everyone who knew Dad also knew that when he was passionate about something, he will make sure you and everyone you know will get to experience it as well. Dad quickly called every book store around the area and asked to buy every copy of Christmas Jars they had in stock. And if that was not enough, he had them order more.

Even though Dad lived in the west, his roots were planted firmly in Charlotte, North Carolina. That is where he grew up and many of his good friends and family were still there. A couple times each year Dad would travel back there for one reunion or another to visit with his friends and extended family.

They came from every walk of life, different backgrounds, different professions and religions, and they all just spent time reminiscing. The next time he went back there, Dad decided to take a whole suitcase filled with copies of Christmas Jars to share with everyone. He challenged each of them to read their copy and to begin filling their own jar that he had included with their book. His hope was that they would pass it on and challenge others to pay it forward as well.

They all accepted the challenge.

A very short time after Dad returned home from that trip, he was diagnosed with Lukemia. The cancer was so progressed that they could only try to make him comfortable for the short time he had left here. It was a rough handful of months following. Dad was receiving weekly blood transfusions to give him some strength for another week. Eventually the transfusions no longer provided any relief for him, and we knew it wouldn’t be long until he passed on.

On his last days with us, Dad was sitting in his recliner looking out the big windows of his home. He had his favorite college blanket on while resting and enjoying being surrounded by his children and grandchildren. He was very weak and was starting to fade in and out of sleep. My niece walked out to the mailbox after seeing the mailman, to grab Dad’s mail.

As she walked in the door, she handed my sister a big stack of manilla envelopes. My sister walked over, sat down by Dad and said “Dad, you need to open your eyes and see this!”

With all the strength he had, Dad opened his eyes and saw sitting on his lap, envelopes full of letters and money. Some letters even written in crayon by little children thanking him for sharing the true meaning of what Christmas was all about.

The letters inside shared with him stories of how the meaning of the jar had affected them and how much they appreciated that he had shared it with them. The story had made a difference… HE had made a difference.

Tears started to stream down his face as he looked at this beautiful outpouring of grace and gratitude. Dad passed away an hour later, knowing that it does not matter how much we have in this life. But what truly matters is that we serve others. We never know what someone else could be going through, and just one small act of kindness could be all they need to help them.

My family will never forget that day.

Since that time, my family has carried the tradition of the Christmas Jar on in our home. We have a large mason jar that sits on our counter all year long that collects everyones spare change. Each day when we empty our pockets or clean out our purses the change goes in the jar. We know each time we place our change in the jar, it is no longer ours. But it now belongs to a family in need of it more than we are.

It has become very personal to us. As we start approaching the holidays each year, our children look so forward to that day when we get to deliver the jar to that family we hope to help. I think our family gets more excited about it than the family receiving it does, it just feels so good!

Fast Forwarding a few years…

Our oldest son, Mikey, was struggling. Like so many others, Mikey had an addiction that he became a prisoner to. Mikey’s addiction unfortunately was a challenge that he and our whole family were struggling to get through. It took us to such a difficult place financially, mentally, and emotionally.

But one thing that stayed constant through those difficult times, was the “Christmas Jar”. No matter what our circumstance were, that jar had its own meaning, and there was always someone who needed it more than we did.

At times, Mikey’s addiction would get the best of him. Although he knew the importance of the Christmas Jar, he found himself ‘taking’ from the jar rather than ‘giving’ to it. We confronted him about it several times, and reminded him that the money was not ours to take. As fast as we would see the jar start to fill, we would see it diminish. We knew where the money was going. Mikey hated what this addiction was doing to him.

After a lengthy and exhausting battle that included failed attempts in rehabilitation centers or time spent in the local jail, Mikey was admitted into a in-patient treatment program where he spent about 9 months. He was our wonderful Mikey again.

After Mikey returned home we began to notice the Christmas Jar filling up very quickly. Not only with small spare change, but with bills big and small. My husband, Mike, took notice and made comment of the change in our families jar over such a short period of time. One of our younger boys said “Dad, Mikey has been putting his paycheck into the jar”.

Paying back the money to the Christmas jar that he had taken over the last several years was Mikey’s way of fixing something that was so important to him. We decided to not mention anything to him and allowed him to do what he felt was right, knowing that he was making amends with even the jar.

Unfortunately, as much as Mikey was so committed to his sobriety, and helping others, he too was not invincible. Mikey had a rough week, and made the choice to fall prisoner once again to his addiction. Mikey had been clean for over one year, but it only took one time to end his life.

Mikey lost his battle with heroin on Memorial Day 2013.

This past year has been the hardest of times for our family. As our family tries to move forward, we decided that the meaning of our jar has shifted a bit. We continue to carry on the tradition with one small change, it's now called Mikey’s Christmas Jar.

Support from loved ones and the community is such a crucial element of success for those in recovery. We are now working with generous people in the community who, like my Dad and Mikey, believe in paying it forward. Through their example, this year we will be helping approximately 140 people in recovery provide Christmas for their families.

The Beard Family
(name used with permission)

Learn more about this family's journey in this inspiring video.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

'I wish I could be there to see her face'

Cuba City, WI:

The Jar is going to my 96 year old aunt in Gilbertsville, NY.  I wish I could be there to see her face when she opens the container.

This has been so much fun over the years, to do.  Since I was traveling,  instead of taking my coin collection for the year, I stopped at the local bank and got change and told the girls, at the bank, what I was doing.  They asked for the name of the book and thought they should do this also.

Friday, October 24, 2014

'She never would ask for help'

Maurertown, Virginia:

I helped a single Mother with two young Children.

It was Christmas time it and broke my heart knowing that she could not give her Children a Christmas. It was a toss up food or gifts I took it upon myself to make sure they had a great Christmas.

She never would ask for help I over heard her talking and I could not go to bed and sleep knowing what would happen. I got several of my co workers involved we went shopping for gifts for all baked cookies cakes and pies. Got extra Holiday food for them to eat, we also had Money donated.

I along with a close friend went and delivered all the gifts and goodies and food to their door very quietly knowing they all were in bed knocked on the door till a light came on we ran back to my car and watched the door open and to see her hands go up to her face and look around to see if anyone was still around.

We were back at work she was talking about it to all of us she came right out ask me if I had anything to do with what happened. I told her no I couldn't tell her the truth I didn't want her to know I knew anything, I told her it was Christmas Angels.

Today she still does not know.

Monday, February 24, 2014

'We seemed to have received a Christmas Angel this year'

Guilford, Connecticut:

As I picked up my Christmas dinner box from the town I noticed a folgers coffee was wrapped and in my box. I thought ooh yay I love folgers, wasn't sure why it was wrapped just thought someone had donated it that way.

While unloading my box into the cabinets I finally went to reach for the coffee and to my surprise it was quite heavy. I unwrapped it and then probably cried for a good half hour the same as I am starting to tear up now. I had already told my girls Christmas was not going to be much this year because I just cant do much this year. They all seemed to understand however I know they were a little sad.

Without knowing anything of my miracle coffee. I sent out my electric bill (THANK YOU!!!!) and got that paid off. Then I went to the grocery store and did a great deal of shopping. (THANKS AGAIN!!!!).

After that I still had some money left over and I went and got them gifts that I knew they really wanted but they wouldn't say that, they just kept saying don't worry Mom we have each other for Christmas.

Needless to say on Christmas morning when they got up they were so surprised and looked at me and said Mom what did you do. I said actually I didn't, we seemed to have received a Christmas Angel this year. Even my girls teared up they just couldn't believe it.

We had the nicest Christmas and my daughters showed me how appreciative they were and asked who and why. I told them I don't know who it was but they really saved the day. I told them what had happened and what I had done with the money and I explained everything to them. They wanted so badly to thank you themselves but I had to keep telling them I don't know who it was.

I can't thank you enough or ever let you know how much it meant to us. We are so grateful and will never ever forget that Christmas.

Thank you so much for helping me and my girls. I wish there was some way we could let you know just how much you saved the day. Not only the gifts but getting back on track with my bill and stocking the freezer really was just an unbelievable thing.

I can't even think of the words to express how grateful we are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and my daughters thank you as well.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

'Since I was only a 13 year old kid without a job, it didn't fill up very quickly, but I tried'

Ogden, Utah:

I had read the book and decided to start a jar of my own. Since I was only a 13 year old kid without a job, it didn't fill up very quickly, but I tried. There is a lady in my area that is from Mexico. She moved here with her kids to get surgery for her daughter, she had some kind of tumor in her face. The woman makes the best tamales in the world, then goes around the neighborhood selling them. My family always buys at least a dozen of them every time she comes by. I decided that their family would be perfect for the jar. The delivery wan't anything special, it was just a standard drop off and drive situation, but I loved it. I have done Christmas Jars since, and I have already started this years. Thanks for the idea to spread some joy and Hope :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

'This is to help your baby'

Vernal, Utah:

My husband and I had to take our baby girl to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah when she was only one week old. She spent several days in the ICU there as doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with her. On one particularly trying day, we found out late in the evening that our now 10 day old baby would need throat surgery. We went to the cafeteria in the hospital to eat dinner feeling extremely discouraged and disheartened. We ate dinner in silence.

Half-way through the meal, we were approached by a woman and her son. They asked if we had a child in the hospital and we told them yes. They pulled out a jar full of change and gently placed in on the table, saying, "This is to help your baby." My husband and I had been without a paycheck for five months and ran out of savings three months earlier. We had been in the hospital for four days and didn't know when we would be going home. When the jar was placed on the table, my husband and I both burst into tears as we felt the love of God instantly and heavily upon our hearts. They had prayed before walking into the hospital that they would know who to give the jar to and when they walked in and saw us, they knew instantly that the jar was meant for us. We told them a little of our daughter's story and expressed for them our gratitude.

We exchanged hugs, and then they silently walked away as my husband and I sat back down. We couldn't eat as we stared at each other and sobbed with the realization that we and our baby are known by God and we are being watched over and taken care of. If the giver of this jar is reading this - please know that you helped us pay some extremely hefty medical bills (our daughter is completely better now), but more importantly, you reminded us that we are loved and lifted our spirits at a time of need. Thank you.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

'The Lord has answered my prayers'

Grove City, Ohio:

I received my wonderful Christmas jar about nine days ago. I am so Blessed! I'm glad I waited to post my Blessing so I can tell my Christmas angel about how I've shared my gift.

My husband and I have been going through a rough time since his injury at work in 2007. He hasn't been able to work since that time. The Lord has seen to it that we have keep our home since that time but it has been a struggle.

In the last 4 weeks we've had 2 cars break down on us, had to replaced 4 tires and 2 rims,  a cracked windshield on his truck and our refrigerator has stopped working twice. Just a lot of expense that needs to be put out to maintain a family and getting me to my job. We are already living week to week from my nail business which The Lord is blessing me to keep clients wanting to come and see me for services. I am so grateful for all that The Lord does for me every day.

The few days before I recieved my Christmas Jar I had really been crying out to The Lord to please make a way for all these expenses to be taken care of... Everything seem to going wrong at same time. I cried every night in prayer on the way home from work asking Him to make a way.  

I was at work on Dec 20th working on a client. A man walked in with a tall Christmas bag. I asked can I help you? He said "I'm looking for Kim DePriest." That's me I said.

He said "I'm suppose to give this to you." I stood to walk over to him but he left quickly and said "Merry Christmas". I walked over to the bag and reached to grab it but it was too heavy to move. So I looked inside and on the lid it had my name and Merry Christmas. I pulled off the lid and there was change - I pulled out the tall jar and it was filled with change and folded $20 bills. I gasped and said "it's money" to my client.

I started looking all over the bag for a name or a tag, something to see who had blessed me with this Awesome Gift. All I found was a book, Christmas Jars. I cried like a baby for an hour. I barely could finish my clients nails.  She said "now that I have seen your reaction to this gift I'm going to give a Christmas Jar." Many of my clients have now said they will now give a Christmas Jar next year.

I have shared this awesome gift story with each client I have had over the last nine days and my family . I believe I have told directly about 65 people my story. The main point for me is that The Lord has answered my prayers and He hears us when we cry out to Him. He uses wonderful people like the kind man who walked into a day spa to deliver a blessing to me.

I want to Thank you my Christmas Angel for saving through out the year and being diligent in your kindness to drop your change and bills in a jar for me and my family. Your blessing has touched many lives in story and in deed in the year to come. Thank you for answering a prayer.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

'I still get teary-eyed thinking of the love and time that was put into the jar'

Holiday, Florida:

Our story began in May, 2011 when I was diagnosed with an incurable lung disease called Broncheactasis.  I had been coughing for months, and was finally hospitalized May 1, 2011 for 4 days.  It was then recommended that I see a poulminologist and began receiving treatments both in and out of the hospital off and on for 2 years. 

In the same year, (2011 in June), we discovered the house we had been renting was going to be foreclosed in a matter of days/months, we weren't sure.  We moved to another home in July of 2011 and I got sick with lungs again. 

Then in January of 2013, my husband had a heart attack and was hospitalized also.  In June 2013, he went back there, and then I went again.

Soon after around August, 2013, we received the first of many letters from Social Security that I was losing all of my disability checks because I made too much money when I worked, but haven't done so since 2006.  This meant that we had 1 check in the home from my husband's disability check.  We couldn't even pay our rent.  People prayed and helped as much as they could, including our landlord who allowed us to stay and do what we could.  I have been paying more than $100 time and time again for my medications, and there are a lot because they also took my medicare.

On December 21 of this year, my pastor left a message and said someone wanted to give us something.  Because we were not sure of a ride and couldn't give a definite answer, our pastor made sure we had a ride.  Just before church, my lady's pastor and an annonomous lady presented us with a Christmas Jar and the book which we haven't read yet because it's in print and small for my husband to read.

We counted the jar part on Christmas and the rest today. $257.05 in total.  We have exactly the amount needed to take care of the rest of our rent. The giver of the jar deserves more thanks than we can express, and we are beginning our jar for the receiver of next Christmas's blessing. God bless the giver, and when you and others who donated get to Heaven, I hope you get a special blessing. I still get teary-eyed thinking of the love and time that was put into the jar.

Friday, December 27, 2013

'The kindness of others when we feel alone, unloved, and financially us hope'

Exton, PA:

My daughter lost her job and had a 2 month old baby at the time. (right after Thanksgiving) Thank goodness she is married. Finances are very tight for them since they both are paying for college loans. My daughter ran out of money and couldn't finish. They were high school sweethearts and I feel soul mates. I was a single mother with her so I don't have any money to help her. We just made it day to day. I am watching my grand daughter to help but it also hurts my finances. I have wonderful friends that are helping me with loans to keep going. 

Meanwhile, my daughter has been depressed but went out the door for an interview. As she opened the door.....there was a bag sitting there. She brought it upstairs, opened it. 2 Christmas jars were inside along with the book. It enabled them to buy formula and diapers. I read the book and cried the entire time. We are starting our own Christmas jars as soon as we can get on our feet and have spread the word for others to do the same. I plan on buying the book to go with the jar....that's the real story!  The kindness of others when we feel alone, unloved, and financially us hope. Thank you to whomever gave my daughter and her family their Christmas Jars. GOD Bless You as HE has blessed me.

'Our Christmas jar gift meant I would be able to buy my husbands special food'

Las Vegas, Nevada:

Our Christmas jar gift meant I would be able to buy my husbands special food.  Earlier in the day I had been looking at the counter where the cans are kept and I saw how low it was and wasn't sure what I was going to do since my only money left in my account was for gas to get to work.  When I heard the doorbell and opened the door and looked out through the screened door and didn't see anyone my thought was why is someone ding dong ditching a house where the dad is sick, in pain and trying with all his being to fight the Cancer that has evaded his body and put our simple lives on a terrifying roller coaster ride.

When i finally looked down and saw a jar with a pickle jar lid, I couldn't tell what was inside.  I reached down to pick it up and was surprised on how heavy it was and read the words on the jar. Tears rolled down my eyes. I went to the couch where my husband was resting to show him my discovery and tears welled up in his eyes. I then took a picture of it and sent it to our youngest daughter who was at her second job.

When my husband was diagnosed with Throat Cancer and was told he would have to start treatment immediately he would not be able to work our daughter went and got a second job to help pay the bills. How blessed the 3 of us felt. When she came home that night we stayed up and counted all the coins and dollars for a total of 104.57. Plenty of money to buy 3 cases of my husbands food. Merry Christmas to that family that gave us the true meaning and feeling of Christmas. We are already filling up the jar to pass on to another family.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

'How could we be deserving of this much love?'

Jesup, Iowa:

My husband passed away suddenly in the summer of 2011, leaving me to raise our 12 year old daughter and 11 year old son. I had two older kids from a previous marriage.  That same year saw my oldest son get married, and by the end of the year was deployed to Afghanistan.  My older daughter gave birth to my first grandson. So many emotions, so many life-changing events!

I had promised my two younger children that we would go to Alaska when their brother returned from Afghanistan - this would be November of 2012. We stayed for a week and had the most awesome time, we had a lot to be thankful for.

When we returned to Iowa, my then 13 year daughter had some swelling between two of her toes, with the toes starting to look deformed. Within the next few days of doctor's appointments and tests, we would eventually have surgery to remove what was thought to be a benign mass. On New Years' Eve Day, 2012, we were given the diagnosis of cancer.

Chemo started immediately and luckily the cancer had not spread. We would make trips to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital almost weekly for inpatient stays. I missed a lot of work, taking a lot of the time without pay, so I could be with my daughter.  There was really no time to ask "why", we needed to focus on getting my daughter better. The local community held fundraisers to help with travel and misc. expenses. It is so hard to be on the receiving end of this kindness.

Through all of this, I tried to keep up with my grief counseling, although the topic usually changed to the emotional stressors of the cancer diagnosis, missing work, etc.

My daughter finished her treatments just before Thanksgiving of this year. We still have a few scans to be repeated in 3 months.  Whether it is trying to keep up with it all, the stress of the holidays, I ended up with the flu a couple of weeks before Christmas. It got worse the week before.

Christmas Eve we would go to my folks' for the family Christmas. My Mom had given my son an ornament with a picture of him and his father in it, with the saying "don't shed a tear.....I'm spending Christmas with Jesus this year." The emotions just started flooding in.  Everyone understands there are bad days occasionally but for the holidays, I always try to smile my way through! I was having trouble this Christmas. I would eventually sniffle my way through 10 p.m. Mass and made it home, feeling blessed by having my family safe and healthy with me.

I was sitting on the couch with my daughter, watching a Christmas show on TV and catching up on Facebook on our iPad when the doorbell rang.  It was about 11:55 p.m.  It was a little scary. I looked in the driveway and there was no car. Was someone going to try to rob us? I went to the back door and saw no one outside. I went back to the front door and slowly opened it with my son beside me. On the front step was a large glass jar with what looked like a lot of change in it, along with a $100 bill and the book, Christmas Jars. The jar is beautiful in itself. Inside the front cover was a beautifully written was a note to our family that they had been following Abby's treatments all year. "May this Christmas Jar bring new hope to you and your family this holiday season."  My tears would flow again. We have been so blessed by having so many support us with prayers and random acts of kindness such as this. How could we be deserving of this much love?  It has been a tough, emotional couple of years, but we are making it.

I can't believe that I have not heard of the Christmas Jars before now. What a neat idea! I hope it is a tradition that our family can start. Thank you to the anonymous giver(s) of this magical present.

'Thank you for the blessing and restoring my faith once again'

Carpentersville , Illinois:

I'm a single mom of a 12 year old boy. The last two years have been hard since finding out my son was diagnosed with autism. I found that I have to be there for him all the time, I never know what will happen and how he will handle any given situation. Just a hour ago we found a bag on the door step and in that bag was the book Christmas Jars and a jar full of charge. No foot steps in the snow, no tire tracks and no idea who has blessed us with this great gift. My faith in humankind has been redeemed, my faith was challenged when I was at a food pantry and those receiving food didn't even say thank you as if they were entitled to the food. I may not have much but manners goes a long way. So Thank you for the blessing a and restoring my faith once again. God bless all of you who make a difference in someones life.

'God does listen and does watch over us'

Rainbow City, AL:

Tough year for our family. We are not broke but having small money issues like everyone else. 1st year I haven't been able to buy a personal gift for my wife or two children (Gift from me not us) My daughters college tuition is due at the end of the month and we were about 200.00 short.

So anyway we go to my inlaws yesterday for Christmas and have a great time. My daughter returns home late last night with her Boyfriend around 11:45 and runs inside and wakes me and my wife out of a dead sleep. Look Look she says. To our surprise there are two money jars and the book. This was the best Christmas I have had to date. God does listen and does watch over us.

We made a promise to each other to do the same next year. We started today as we emptied the jars to be able to fill them up for someone else fro next year.

'I cannot tell you how this seemingly simple act has affected me today'

Richmond, VA:

I will never cease to be amazed by the generosity of all the people I've come into contact with over the years, and even those I may never know. I have been blessed in so many ways, by having an amazing daughter, and friends and family that have helped us on our crazy journey through life.

My daughter, adopted from Russia three years ago, is a happy, energetic 5 yr old, who is also battling a dangerous metabolic condition. We are in midst of the testing phase to evaluate her for Urea Cycle Disorder, in which the body does not convert ammonia into urea to be excreted out. As a result, ammonia levels build up, and if high enough, can lead to permanent brain damage.

This evening, my sister K dropped off a small Christmas gift bag. The story she told me still leaves me in awe.

Inside the bag was a Christmas Jar. This bag, and this jar, reached my door through several anonymous hands. Great steps were taken to ensure that the original person responsible for the jar remain undisclosed. The woman that gave K the jar, Mrs D, is the wife of our church's former pastor. Mrs D told my sister that SHE had received the jar from someone ELSE, and did not know who (and made if very clear she was not responsible for it, but rather another hand to get to me).

According to the story that was told to Mrs D, and then to K, the person responsible for the jar has had a long-standing tradition. At the beginning of each year, they start putting all their spare change into a jar. They never remove any of it, just keep adding, little by little. Then, at Christmas time, they send the jar, with strict anonymity, to a person or family that they feel could really benefit from it.

The message that was sent with the jar when it reached my door was that, with all of the tests and procedures we are facing right now, and in the months ahead, the gifter knew that money may become a problem. So my daughter and I were chosen this year to receive their jar.

I cannot tell you how this seemingly simple act has affected me today. I am honored, and awestruck. I WISH I could say thank you in person to this wonderful individual, but that is the point - I just know the kindness. And it has strengthened me more, and given me more hope, than I thought possible. Being pocket change, the money in the jar isn't much, but it will help. There is no doubt about that. And the sheer fact that the jar exists, helps even more. To whomever chose our family, thank you.

Christmas Jar story update!

So many stories are flooding in. It's wonderful! Due to a formatting issue with the web form, each one has to be cleaned up and reformatted. New stories will be appearing today (12/26) and tomorrow (12/27). Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

'Merry Christmas to my guardian angel'

Farmington, MI

After a rough couple of months I came home tonight to find a jar filled with coins and dollars! My kids where so shocked...who is that from they asked. I replied with it must be a gaurdian angle watching over us. The lesson they learned was not something any text book could explain, x-mas is about giving not receiving. In a world we live in of who wears what and who has what the true meaning came out. Whoever gave us that must be a good friend to you my 11 year old stated.

I hope one day I can pay it forward and help someone else in need. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lesson you taught my kids tonight!  

Merry Christmas to my guardian angel :)

'This is a true miracle for us'

Saint Peters, Missouri:

I learned tonight about the Christmas Jars, when we came home we have several jars on our front porch tonight. Our family has been struggling for over 4 years now, in July of 2009 I almost lost my husband his kidneys failed and he needed a kidney transplant, then in November 2009 he lost his job after 20 yrs. He's been on dialysis until November 22, 2013 when he received a kidney. Bills have piled up, we have 2 children and they went without a lot of things especially Christmas. There are times we don't have money for gas or food. This is a true miracle for us. I've been out of work for 3 months caring for him and no check coming.....  I want to thank the person or persons who did this for us.....   Merry Christmas

'What this jar did was give me hope for the New Year'

Rockford, IL:

We are going through a very difficult time. My husband is out of work and I work part-time. We only have enough money as I saw it yesterday to make it less than three weeks. I have been so scared and on my knees in prayer for my husband to find employment.

We went to church last night as a family to worship Jesus for His Birthday, not about us about Jesus. We received a blue bag and it was heavy. We got it home and I said is it a ham for it was that type of shape in the bag, no it was a Christmas Jar full of lots of coins many silver! Plus a book. My son and I counted the coins and they came to $266. which will pay the electric and gas for the month. I saw God at work, which gave me hope that He has not left us and He will provide my husband a job in Jan. Never have we had such little time to find employment, but we honestly won't make it.

What this jar did was give me hope for the New Year, hope that even perhaps next year at this time I will be the one to give a Christmas Jar away. Whoever did this I am so very thankful.

Whoever reads this please share the hope and prayers that the New Year will bring employment. That the fear will end and I will have peace like I had last night. It is something I will be in awe of the rest of my life, it was definitely a God moment.

'My brother had a diving accident in August'

Hudsonville, Michigan:

My brother had a diving accident in August. He's paralyzed from the chest down. We came home from the Christmas Eve service at our church to find one of these jars on our porch. What a generous blessing from the Lord!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'But the real gift, the real gift is the love'

Ogden, Utah:

I was standing in the dry storage closet at work, trying to keep the tears back so they wouldn't run my mascara.  Having blurred eyeliner hurts your tips. It was not just one of those days - it was one of those months.

See, as a 25 year old divorced woman living alone and waiting tables to pay for college tuition, holidays don't mean family-time, they just mean over-time. I got an email earlier today informing me that I did not get accepted into my college program and I would have to wait another 3 months before I could try again. I felt as though the last year of struggling to pay tuition and books and fees had been for nothing. I would have to wait another 3 months, retake classes, and pay for yet another semester trying to pull up my GPA a few fractions of a point. Having my dreams of Teaching in a classroom, a career I have always wanted, completely dashed I tried to pretend that table 52 not having enough chips with their dip, or that table 41's preference for no ice, two extra lemons and a lime with their diet Pepsi was of the utmost importance. And yet the not so gentle tone in my managers voice, a snappy demand from a costumer, finding a 0.00 on tip line of the check, and getting triple sat all at once sent me over the edge.

So I stood there in the dry storage trying not to cry, and failing. It took a few minutes but I was finally able to finish my shift. Seeing young couples with babies, old happy married couples, and even a girl I went to high school with all happy, all surrounded by people who loved them enjoying a meal. It was hard knowing I would go home, to my little place with no festive decorations, no friendly faces, no loved ones. Just alone.

As I pulled into the driveway at 2 am after closing and cleaning the restaurant I was so tired I practically tripped as I opened my door. Someone left a large Christmas tub at my stoop, at first I thought it was popcorn or cookies from my neighbors, but when I lifted it I was shocked at its weight. Sitting down on my stairs I opened the gift to find hundreds, even thousands, of coins inside with $45 folded up on top.  A book tied to the canister titled "Christmas Jars"

My breath stopped and for the first time since my divorce, I cried happy tears instead of sad ones.  I simply couldn't believe that someone would do something so nice, so much, for me.  Sob after sob, I had never been so grateful for spare change. It took several minutes to regain my composure. Only to lose it again and again crying every time I looked at the several pounds of coins sitting next to me on the stairs. I sat there thinking, it was all too much. It was simply too big of a gesture, it couldn't have been meant for me. Maybe they had the wrong house. I don't really have any friends, I don't attend a church - and only a few classmates from study group knew where I lived.  And yet - there it was propped on my door.  It meant I was not alone. It meant that someone cared enough to spend months collecting change ˆ for me.  It meant that I was loved. Something I hadn't felt in a very very long time.

Counting the change, took much longer than I anticipated and half a box of Kleenex.  Totalling to $193.64. This could pay my grocery bill for 3 months, or my phone bill for half a year. But the real gift, the real gift is the love. It is knowing that I am not facing the challenges of world completely alone, because somewhere out there someone is putting their change in a jar.

'I lost my Mom in March suddenly and lost my Dad in October'

Port Byron, IL:

My husband heard something outside last night. He woke me up to ask if someone was dropping something off to me. I told him I wasn't aware of anything. We could see the bag out our bedroom window on the sidewalk. We both stood there looking at each other very stumped. I went outside to find the Christmas jar full of change and the book. I carried it inside still shocked at what had just happened. This has been a very trying year for me. I lost my Mom in March suddenly and lost my Dad in October after a lengthy illness. This act of kindness has made me think of all the good that is left in this world. I am so thankful to the person that did this. I wish I could thank them properly but I know I'm not meant to know who they are. It definitely brightened my day at a time when I am especially missing my parents. I plan to carry on this tradition in the years to come.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

'I can't express how great it feels'

Clermont, Florida:

Well, we came home from delivering our jar.  I can't express how great it feels.  This is our 4th year giving a Christmas jar. Saved all year long...coins and hubby knocked on the door and I did see him break into a little run while they opened the door. Usually I knock yet it was his turn to get the best thrill of his life. His heart was pounding then we drove around a bit then went back to the house and yes, they picked up the Christmas jar. We high fived each other and off to breakfast. Thank you Jason for writing the book. This past 4 years of Christmas jar giving has been so rewarding.

'In 2013 we gave away three Christmas Jars'

Crestwood, KY:

My husband and I have made it a tradition to give away Christmas Jars. This is our third Christmas to do so, and in 2013 we gave away three Christmas Jars. It is the highlight of our celebration of the greatest gift ever given -- our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Hope we get to meet you someday to thank you in person for creating a tradition that is becoming a national and international sensation. God bless you and multiply your efforts.

'It couldnt have come at a better time a christmas tree empty for three'

Wilmington, NC:

Today walking out of a dollar tree of college rd in wilmington nc a women walks up to me and hands me a present tells me its a tradition and she wanted me to have it i was a little standoffish i waited for my girlfriend we opened the box to find a tru miricale it was such an amazing out of body OMG no way did this really just happen!!?!? And it couldnt have come at a better time a christmas tree empty for three turned into a happy Christmas Day ty very much and if and when we are ever finacialy able to return a jar we will i would love to sit back and watch someone open their box like our giver was able to do we got to see them at a stop light i got out and got to tell them how much this blessing was helping us this year again ty very much an have a very merry christmas!!!!!

'You have no idea how much you have helped my family and touched my heart'

Mount Holly, NC:

I never knew what Christmas Jars were until tonight. This will be the 3rd year in a row that I have received this precious gift. I still am unaware of who our benefactor is, however I am truly grateful. I am a single mother of 2, but that is just the beginning. See my daughter K is disabled. She requires 24 hour care and I'm pretty sure that our benefactor is closer than I am aware and knows this. I work a full time job to try to keep us a float. My son Z is a senior in high school and I will do whatever it takes to see that he gets a college education.

The first year we received Christmas Jars I thought I was seeing things. The jars were left on my front porch and I just could not believe  my eyes. I just stood there looking around wondering what was going on. I walked out into the yard and looked around yet no one was there. I just kept saying I have to find this person. I ask around but nothing.

Year 2 the same thing happened. Christmas Jars were left on my front porch. I did the same thing. All I could think was Who would leave us money just because. Still no one had a clue as to who it was.

Tonight December 24,2013 is year 3. I had I feeling that my precious person may show up so I had prepared a little something for them. However I must say they are good. They left the Christmas Jars before I sat what I had prepared outside. I had no idea what a Christmas Jar was until I opened a brown paper bag which contained 2 jars and a book titled Christmas Jars. To this person I would just like to Thank you. You have no idea how much you have helped my family and touched my heart. I hope one day to be able to do for someone else what you have done for us. I  am forever grateful.

Monday, December 23, 2013

'If it wasnt for her we wouldnt have Christmas'

Zanesville, Ohio:

Well today a friend changed my whole world. I got up for work and just got ready like any other day and finally got to work and settled in. I sure didnt forsee what was comming a coworker of mine 17 yrs old and her mother come in they walked straight up to me and she hands me the book and tells me Merry Christmas and then hands me the Christmas jar and tells me now go and get ur children the christmas I wanted. I know my jaw about hit the floor I thanked her so much and all I could do was cry. This girl is only 17 and has blessed me today. She is my little angel and I did exactly as she directed I went straight after work and bought Christmas for my girls. I wrapped them nicley and also made sure on the tags her name was apart of them. If it wasnt for her we wouldnt have Christmas. So thank you again Sara for making Christmas possible for my family this year.

'It overwhelms me with emotions to think that someone cared enough'

Emporia, Kansas:

Life has been a struggle for me lately.  I can't stand by and see others suffer or be in need.  I often put others needs before my own, and many times to my own detriment. I have taken in people who have no place to live, there are 9 people living in my home (a very small home with 3 bedrooms.)  When the options are that they live here or live on the streets, I chose to bring them in and help.

I have been struggling financially, to the point that I was within days of losing my home to foreclosure.  I talked to my Pastor and asked for prayers for guidance and comfort, for peace in what would be to come, even it it meant I lost my home.  God answered my prayers and we were able to get things caught up and remain in our home.  I know that it was God providing for us!  Unfortunately, we continue to struggle financially as many people do.  Although it is frustrating not to have everything we want, the ability to give my children and family gifts (not even one)I am comforted in God's love knowing that we at least have our home and each other.  My focus is that of keeping us in our home and providing the things we need.  

It was a very snowy weekend here in Kansas and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make it to church this morning.  We drive about 30 miles to this amazing little country church in Lamont.  (From the first time that we attended LWC I knew I was home.  The people there are so warm, loving, and welcoming!) Well, it was a journey today, a slow trip over and I was running late, but we were going to make it!  It was a short service, not our normal worship service, but it was well worth the drive over as always.  We got our weekly dose of love and inspiration, things to ponder and study on for the week.  Pastor Steve had told me that morning when I got there not to leave without talking to him first.  After the sermon, he again told me not to leave without talking to him.  By that time I am beginning to worry that something is wrong...but it was quite the opposite!  There on the table he pointed out to me that an anonymous person left me a gift...a huge pickle jar full of money and a book, "Christmas Jars."

I am not great at receiving praise, gifts, or help.  I prefer to be on the giving end.  But I must say, it overwhelms me with emotions to think that someone cared enough to do this for me.  I carried the heavy jar and book to my truck and headed home.  I sat down on the couch and started to read the book...I read and cried, and read some more until I had completed the book.  This is an amazing story!!  It is awesome to know that in this world where so much suffering and pain exists, that there is love strong enough to conquer it all!  The FREE gift of Jesus who died for us all!  In the sermon today, Pastor talked about not knowing the 'why' behind things that happen, I don't claim to know the 'why' either, but I do believe that God has a plan for all of us.  I have realized that through all of the pain and suffering I have experienced in my life I have learned things that have made me stronger, smarter, and better prepared for other things that I have had to endure (or will.)

This gift, this Christmas Jar that I received today, enforces my belief that God provides a way.  Someone out there cares enough to think of me in this Christmas season and share this gift with me.  That is not a coincidence!  I have not decided how to use the money yet, but it will be a blessing to my family in a huge way.  I will share this with many in my life about this act of kindness and I will be starting my own Christmas Jar for next year to share with someone in need.

Thank you to the anonymous giver(s) for loving me enough to share this gift this Christmas Season!  God bless you!

'We just wish we knew who to thank for this wonderful gift'

Lenexa, Kansas:

I just received the most wonderful gift of this Christmas season.  A jar was left on my front porch this morning.  I have been off work for the last 7 months and have not been able to get unemployment.  My Mom and I have been barely getting by thanks to the help from my family with their financial support to pay the mortgage.  This miracle is greatly appreciated.  We were unable to give any Christmas gifts out this year.  We don't know what we would do with out the kind neighbors that have also assisted us these last few months.  We will truly have a better start to the new year now.  I look forward to next year hoping we can continue this wonderful tradition.  We just wish we knew who to thank for this wonderful gift.  We feel extremely blessed.  Thank you whomever you are for the very thoughtful gift.

'I am sure hoping this will show them that the LORD is smiling on them'

Buffalo, NY:

Thank you, Jason, for starting this very worthwhile trend of the Christmas Jars.  Inspired by your stories, I purposed to save some money this Christmas Season to give to an adorable young family who are expecting their first child in early 2014. I met them in the Fall of 2013, and could sense they'd been struggling and could use some extra encouragement of God's Love this season in a practical, tangible way. I am sure hoping this will show them that the LORD is smiling on them and encouraging them even more to follow Him, perhaps even carrying on the tradition of the Christmas Jars when they are blessed to have the faith and funds to do so.  I thank God that He has given me these invaluable resources to pass on to others this year in Christ Jesus, the Reason for every Season. May you and yours be blessed in His Name.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

'I am grateful for those that thought of me in giving me such a divine present'

(This story was submitted in Spanish. Our first ever in a foreign language! See the translation below.)

Bonita Springs, Fl:

Soy una mujer de 55 años, que dejé mi país hace casi 11 años, siguiendo a mi pareja. Han sido años muy dificiles, buscando un espacio en un país extranjero. Cuando finalmente pensé que lo conseguía, me encontré sola. No tengo un compañero real. No una persona que realmente me quiera y me cuide y sea mi soporte. Por supuesto tengo familiares a mi alrededor, pero al final del día, estoy sola conmigo misma y con mis cuentas y mi batalla para pagar todas las facturas.

Este 20 de diciembre mientras viajaba a Miami recibí una llamada de una amiga que me explicaba que tenía un regalo para mí y que era anónimo. Le agradecí y le pedí que me lo dejara en un sitio específico en nuestro lugar de trabajo. Apenas el 22 de diciembre me di tiempo para ir a recogerlo y ¡Dios mío! cuando lo tomé y lo sentí y lo abrí. No hay palabras para explicar lo que se siente. Mientras conducía a mi casa, no podía dejar de llorar y no entendía que hacer. Empecé a leer el libro y empecé a buscar el real significado de mi gran regalo. Sé que no estoy sola. Tú, Señor, y estas maravillosas personas que me rodean son el motivo de vivir. Gracias a aquellos que pensaron en mí para este gran obsequio divino!!!! Bendiciones para todos!!!

I am a 55-year-old woman. I left my country almost 11 years ago, following my companion. It has been very difficult trying to find my place in a foreign country. When I finally thought I had found it, I found myself alone. I don't really have a companion, a person that really loves me, takes care of me, or who is my support. Of course I have relatives nearby, but at the end of the day I am on my own, with all my bills and the battle to make ends meet.
On the 20th of December, I was traveling to Miami when I received a call from a friend, telling me that I had received an anonymous present. I thanked her and asked her to leave it in a specific place at work. It wasn't until the 22nd that I had time to pick it up and oh Lord, when I took it and held it and opened it! There are no words to explain what I felt. As I drove home, I could not stop crying and I did not know what to do. I started to read the book and I started find the real meaning behind such a great present. I know that I am not alone. You, my Lord, and all these wonderful people around me are the purpose for living. I am grateful for those that thought of me in giving me such a divine present. May all be blessed.

'I seen some one running into car and driving away'

Yuma, Arizona:

I Sanden Martin herd a loud bang on house and ran outside to see what it was and I seen some one running into car and driving away and I looked down and there was a coffee cup filled with change and a jar also filled with change I'm so excited to have been picked too get this! God bless and this is the best x-mas and birthday gift ever to have been giving and when I ran back into house I called to my mother and said look what was on the door step and my mom was lost and crying and started calling the sisters to tell them about what we had gotten!! Happy birthday Jesus and god bless amen!! And u can post our names!

'The smile and amazement on his face was priceless!'

Wasilla, Alaska:

I read your book Dec. 2012 and was immediately inspired to start a Christmas Jar. I saved my change and a few bills all year long. Because I work in a middle school I was able to easily determine to whom to give the jar. He was absent the day before school let out for winter break. He didn't show up the last day either. The plan was to place it in his locker. I told the front office that if he showed up to let me know. He showed up after school to withdraw to attend another school. You see this young man was excited because his mother had just been released from prison and he was going to Iive with her! I was able to watch his response to receiving the jar via our camera system. The smile and amazement on his face was priceless!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

'I can’t wait to do my own Christmas Jar for someone even more deserving than I am'

I wanted to share how your book Christmas Jars has blessed me this glorious Christmas season. On June 3rd of this year, I walked away from my job at a local Christian elementary school after a major difference of opinion. I wasn’t willing to compromise my beliefs in what I was doing with God’s little ones so I prayed long and hard for God to show me the path to take.

In walking away I was taking a significant leaf of faith. I have been a single mom for the past 11 year…since my husband walked in one evening and told me he was never meant to be a husband and father… with no other source of income other than my salary. He was ordered to pay $125.00 a week in child support but never did. I was counting on approximately $18,000 in back support that was due to me in January 2014 but it was wiped clear when he filed for and was granted an order of bankruptcy this past September. I was walking away from an annual income of around $60,000 and would not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

During these past 6 months, I have submitted over 100 applications (142 to be exact) to private/public schools, churches, hospitals, restaurants, and retail stores. I have over 30 years of experience in education so I am considered ”old and expensive” when it comes to a job even though I feel God is continuing to allow me to grow in this arena.

In late August I was finally offered a job at Target making minimum wage. Wow…this was a major eye-opener to me. No one is capable of living on minimum wage but I was thankful that I had something. During this time in my life, I have managed to keep my head above water but it has been extremely difficult. My savings is quickly dwindling..with the help of a dead stove and having to replace my heating unit just a few weeks ago. My house is in foreclosure but the bank has yet to ask me to move out. For this I am also thankful.

Along the way, I have continued to receive anonymous gifts from my school family. Many of us remain forever entwined by a gracious and loving God. I also see many of these families at the local Target where my co-workers tell me I am ”popular” to which I reply…”no, I am blessed!”.

This brings me to to reason for my correspondence. As I was walking from my daughter’s bedroom this morning, I passed our front door. I remembered our family dog barking wildly around 3:00 this morning. I just chalked it up to the deer that constantly walk our neighborhood but thought I would look out the window just to be sure it wasn’t anything more. I noticed footprints in the still snow covered sidewalk leading up to my front door. 

Since this door is very seldom used, I assumed it was the mailman/UPS guy leaving something on the porch. I opened the door and noticed a brightly wrapped Christmas package. I looked all over to find a name but none was evident. I brought the package back into the house and opened it up to find an empty cashew jar with your book inside. There was also a lot of change in the bottom of the jar. As I took the book out of the jar to see if my benefactor had signed it, a stack of 50s, 20s, 10s, and 5s began to fall out of the book. There was a total of $584.00 (not counting the change) in the book.

I was stunned and immediately fell to my knees and said a prayer (through my tears) for this blessing and the person/people responsible. I have spent my morning reading your book and realizing how truly blessed I have been, not only by the amazing monetary gift, but by the words you wrote on the pages of the book. I found them to be inspirational and I know God will allow me to bounce back. When He does, I can’t wait to do my own Christmas Jar for someone even more deserving than I am.

Thank you for the blessing your book has been to so many just like me…families who are at the edge of despair only to be pulled back by such an outpouring of love and support. While the money in the Christmas jar won’t wash away my worries and concerns for what tomorrow will bring, it does make the next few weeks so much brighter. I will forever be grateful to God placing this book on your heart and the person who picked it up, read it and thought of me.
May you be blessed by Him during this glorious Christmas season. You provide a light to so 
many who may otherwise walk in the dark.

Rebecca Thompson
Proverbs 3:5-6

PS: You may post my name.

Friday, December 13, 2013

'Words cannot express the gratitude and love I feel'

Janine Solley in Horsham, PA:

I am 44 years old and a mother to 3 daughters and step~mother to 2 daughters. Two years ago I was diagnosed with MS and forced to give up and retired from my teaching career after 20 years. It broke my heart. I had my drivers license taken away and what then felt like all of my independence.

What little energy I have on a day to day basis is used to care for my daughters and husband as best as I can because I want to be able to do something and not have everybody else take care of me. My husband can't work because I can't be left at home alone for more then 2 hours and the money we receive from my pension and SS disability is barely enough to pay the bills.

A few months ago I fell down the steps and was told by my neurologist that I had to stop doing the stairs. We are in the process of trying to raise money to put in a bathroom on our first floor. I keep up a good positive attitude and a smile on my face. I have great family and friends and I do my best make sure my MS does not have any more of an affect on my daughters then it already has.

This afternoon, December 13, there was a knock at the door. When my husband opened it there was a Christmas bag and inside was a jar with $230 and the book "Christmas Jars". I am just speechless.

I have no words for how completely overwhelmed I am with the kindness of whoever did this amazing deed for us. Words cannot express the gratitude and love I feel. We don't let the girls know how hard it's been financially since all of this has happened because we don't want them to worry. They know that it's been tough, but they don't know how hard it's been... how we have gone to my parents for food and money to help pay a bill.

Words can't express how thankful I am to you and and the person who shared your kindness with us. God bless you...!!!!  I don't mind if you use my name.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

'It's just pure joy, Holiday spirit, it brings tears to my eyes!'

Newark, NY:

Our 1st time getting Xmas jar was in year of 2008. Jonathan received an envelope, each word on the envelope was someone else hand writer. There were two envelopes with 3 different stamps on it, last envelope no stamp. With the book Christmas Jar. We had showed everyone we knew it because we were just so amazed and thankful.

2009 similar story.

2010 I received one, however I had found it in my purse. And if your a woman like me, you don't clean out your purse that often.

I then received one in 2012 on a pie on the door steps to our house, also a get well balloon (year of my car accident).

2013, I received one today on my windshield of my car. We have received the book each time. How the book reads, someone fills there jar with loose change or spare money through out the year and gives it to someone. It's kinda pay-it-forward, type of thing. Each year we have gotten it: it's various amounts, different envelopes, different certified checks, or just simple cash, one year Jonathan got Canadian cash. It's really magical.

However, I would of never accepted it 4x throughout my life time. But each time it has helped, and we are extremely grateful. I would like to think it's someone close because they are seem to know when things are rough, or if it's just someone random they are pretty lucky for knowing when we could use it.

It's just pure joy, Holiday spirit, it brings tears to my eyes!

Friday, November 22, 2013

'Our 4 children have taken such pride in putting money in the jar'

Sheridan, Indiana:

My husband & I read this book for the first time about 5 or 6 years ago. We were hooked and immediately got out a jar to start filling. Our 4 children have taken such pride in putting money in the jar and often contribute more than we can. Every year on Christmas Eve, we have taken the jar and a book and anonymously put them in a porch of a family in need. We have not known these families or their reaction to this, but we hope they have been positively impacted by the Christmas Jars story. I know our family has.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

'Here it is the Christmas season and the jar is ready to share again'

New York:

thank you thank you thank you ...............the inspiration from Christmas Jars is filling my heart with joy all year round, last year was my first time experiencing this miracle of the joy of a Christmas jar, immediately after my venture to share I came home and on the counter I placed a new jar to start the process again, twice during the year I have opened the lid and spread the Christmas spirit before December.......and each time no matter what the month the result was always the same, my heart was filled and my life seemed so it is the Christmas season and the jar is ready to share again......I cant wait thank you Jason Wright for making me feel like God has given me a mission and your book has given me just that!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

'We just know that this is an act of god'

Tacoma, WA:

Hey my name is Josh James and I'm visiting my family out here in las Vegas "Henderson" and last night my aunt went to leave the house to go somewhere and she opened the door and found a jar full of money and a book with your name on it. I'm not are if you dropped it off but i do wanna say THANK YOU!! Thank you for your generosity for this. My aunt is goin through a hardship right now cause she got laid off on her job and she's having a hard time trying to figure out how she's gonna pay rent and keep a roof over her and her kids heads. This was a huge blessing for her and as soon as she seen the jar she came in crying. We just know that this is an act of god and we give him the glory for this. Even through you. So thank you again for this this is awesome :) Here's a photo i took of the jar and book! God bless and happy holidays!