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.