Summerville, South Carolina:
We had just finished our first Christmas Eve with our "new" grandchildren. Even though each child received just one present from "grandma" Jo and "grandpa" Larry, they seemed truly grateful for his or her gift. It was special seeing the love our daughter has for her new partner and his three beautiful children, and his obvious love for her in return. At that moment, we felt truly blessed.
A knock at the door interrupted our reverie. It was fairly late to be having visitors, so my wife peeked out the door but saw no one there. Except...for a small gift bag on the doorstep and the sound of running feet fading into the distance. Perplexed, she brought the package in and opened it in the kitchen. Tears began to well up in her eyes as she exclaimed "It's a Christmas Jar!"
I had forgotten that the year before, her sister, terribly sick from breast cancer, had received a similar jar so that she and her family could celebrate what was probably to be her last Christmas on this earth. The difference it made for them, saddled with the debts from her treatments, made all the difference in the world. What a selfless act of love! I understood now why my wife was crying; this anonymous gift not only proved to us that Angels really do exist, but it connected her with her sister who could not be here to witness such generosity.
As we stood around the jar, thinking of the loved ones in our lives that are no longer with us, my daughter said "We need to pay this forward, and I mean tonight!" Her good friend had been broken into a week before Christmas. All of her child's birthday and Christmas presents had been stolen, along with the household appliances, but most painfully, her grandmother's jewelry which had been passed down to her. Without hesitation my wife said "Yes, let's take this precious gift and use it to give our friends some sort of Christmas. Otherwise, they will have nothing to open on Christmas day."
As I sit and write this short tale, my loved ones are out on Christmas Eve looking for a television for a family that is in greater need than us. And to me, that is the real story that the Christmas Jars epitomize. Loving, caring, sharing with one another, whether we have ever met or not. And thanking God for every Blessed minute we spend with our family and friends until we all meet again one day in His loving arms.
God Bless all the Christmas Jars tonight.