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, OK:

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'

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.








'Thank you to this angel that thought of me and my family'

Boise, Idaho:

I just separated the military and moved to Boise with my husband who is still enlisted. We moved from England, and left all of our friends once again. I got a job five months after I separated at a physical therapy office and absolutely love to help people here! In my third week I received a Christmas jar from an anonymous person. Thank you to this angel that thought of me and my family when we have few friends and no family to share the holidays with. Bless your heart :)

Kristi

Sunday, December 21, 2014

'This year we shared SIX jars with others less fortunate'

Knoxville, Tennessee: 

My women's Sunday School class at a Baptist Church started doing Christmas Jars about five years ago after I read and shared "The Christmas Jar" book with all of them. Every Sunday we pass the basket around and place $$ or change into it and at Christmas we share with people who are in need. This year we shared SIX jars with others less fortunate and there is, of course, no end to the need.

If we have more names submitted than we have jars, we draw for the names but we try to cover all the requests we have.  It has kinda become a tradition from our class to do this together.  We agree it feels better to be a "giver".  Thank you for your story.

Friday, December 19, 2014

'We are overwhelmed with emotion and so thankful'

Minot, North Dakota:

Today, our 7 year old son Nole' came home from school proudly carrying a jar filled with change and dollars...and a big red bow on top of the lid.  I asked him where he got this and he exclaimed, "Wedar!"

Nole' is a special little boy who happens to have Down syndrome. After some investigation, we found out who blessed us with a jar of change...the Wedar Family. Mrs. Melissa Wedar was our children's Kindergarten teacher.  

Why us? Mrs. Wedar, her husband, and two sets of twins collected money to help us bring home an orphan named Simon who is five years old and is currently waiting for us to adopt him and bring him home in 2015. Their family chose to bless us by giving us their Christmas jar to help us with our adoption costs. We are overwhelmed with emotion and so thankful to the Wedar family for giving us this special gift this Christmas. Next year, we will pay it forward and bless an adopting family with their very own Christmas Jar! Thank you, The Burckhards

'I am down to my last $1.00 and no money for presents or groceries'

Roseville, Ohio:

It's a week before Christmas, December 18, 2014. I am down to my last $1.00 and no money for presents or groceries. My social security ran out quicker due to car repairs, etc., but I prayed and asked the Lord to bless me so I could bless this other lady and her daughter.

I've been down this road before over the years, but the Lord always provides "at just the right time". My husband of 43 yrs. passed away in August 2013. It was hard that year at Christmas, but seemed more so this year. I had slept in that morning, which I rarely do.

After breakfast & devotions with my daughter the phone rang and a familiar voice asked, "are you going to be home? Someone has dropped something off for me to give to you." An hour later she knocked at my door. She did not say who it was from, the card was not signed. 

I looked in the Christmas bag after she left. To my shock and surprise, a mason jar full of money! Over $350.00. The Lord reminded me of His blessing. I quickly put some in an envelope and off I went to bless someone else!

Read Isaiah 40:31!

Sharon Yost

Thursday, December 18, 2014

'This gift was a phenomenal boost to help the holidays be brighter'

Agawam, Massachusetts:

I picked up my son from his after school program and found a (very heavy) jar in his backpack along with a wrapped box of Legos and copy of the book. I am a single mother with a wonderful young son trying to do the best for him and make ends meet while going to school. I have family but not close enough to help much.

This gift was a phenomenal boost to help the holidays be brighter but also to model for my son the value of giving back and being grateful. Thank you so much, it is truly appreciated. And we will be setting up our own jar at the start of the new year. 

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!

Dayla 

Friday, December 12, 2014

'The tooth fairy had given her this money and she wanted to add it to our jar'

Nebo School District, Utah:

I am a kindergarten teacher with two half day classes. I have done Christmas jars with my family for a few years, and decided to try it with my classes this year. I sent home a note explaining that we were starting a class Christmas jar and that if they were going to send money to donate they should have their children do a little job or something to make the service even more meaningful. 

I was overwhelmed at the response I got. More than one time I was moved to tears by these sweet children. Some of their families are struggling too, but they were so happy to send a little bit of change to help someone else.

One student in particular made me cry. She told me on the first day that her family didn't have much money since her dad was a student too. I told her it was fine and not to worry if her parents told her there wasn't change to spare. The next morning she came in with two dollars worth of quarters for the jar. She smiled the biggest smile to show me her missing front teeth and told me that the tooth fairy had given her this money and she wanted to add it to our jar! Priceless! This and many other sweet stories made this such a neat experience for my classes.  

The jar was delivered yesterday to another family from our school with the following poem and a copy of your book. Thank you for the inspiration. I hope that these children remember this experience for years to come.


This looks like a jar of money,
And it is-but it’s so much more!
It’s more than just pennies and dimes,
That we are leaving at your door!

This jar is full of tooth fairy money,
And coins earned by doing chores.
Nickels and quarters from piggy banks,
From pockets and bedroom floors.

But, this jar is full of more than coins,
There’s something else there too!
We filled this jar with Christmas love,
And we’re giving that love to you!

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.



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 lost....gives 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 lost....gives 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.