As Christmas day drew closer, my son and I had about decided to just throw in the towel as far as the holiday’s go. No matter where we went people were in a hurry, rude, angry and all you would hear is “I want”, “I want.” At one point as we sat down one evening he turned and asked, “Do you think anyone really remembers the reason we celebrate Christmas?” I to began to wonder if the true meaning of Christmas was lost and forgotten. But as Christmas day was upon us, I found that there are many who still hold the true meaning of the day in their hearts and reflect it in their lives.
Christmas fell on a Saturday this year, which is the day we serve our friends from the park. Instead of canceling the day we opened up the church for the better part of the day and decided to spend Christmas with our friends. They only asked for one thing for Christmas and that was to have a place to go and have someone to share it with. So with the help of so many wonderful people, we had a huge Christmas dinner, played bingo and Al showed movies with popcorn upstairs on the big screen.
Our regular crew of people who help could not make it down that day, but we were so blessed by those who did. As we were headed to church Rick and April were already calling and asking what they could do, shortly after arriving some of our friends from the park, as well as Al and Pamela showed up to help, a wonderful family the Sigler’s came down, some of my son’s friends showed up and Jeannie who I met for the first time that day, came down to show her daughter what Christmas was all about.
I stand back sometimes and just take things in. I wonder if people see what I see. There were so many people jumping in to make dinner, it was like having family all pile in the kitchen, laughing joking. One of our park friends got a lesson on how to make deviled eggs (was funny). Laughed as my son and one of park guys made pudding and of course had to taste test which resulted with them having more on their face than in the bowl. At that moment there was no division, no them or us… just friends and family enjoying the day and each others company.
As the day went on many people came and went, but as I watched many sat playing cards, reading the paper, playing bingo or were watching a movie. We even had one of the guys feel comfortable enough that after he ate, he was snoozing in the lobby chair…reminded me of a grandpa after eating a big meal. My son and I didn’t have our family to spend the day with, but as I looked around I realized these wonderful people are our friends and part of our family. I felt as though we were sitting in a big home and had invited friends and family over to celebrate. Then I was reminded that it was God’s house and these are his beloved children and what a way to share His gift of love, but to extend it to others.
Extending the gift of Love to others is the one thing I will always remember about that day. Each and every person that came down gave up their Christmas day to spend it with our friends. Many spent most of the day with us and did so because they wanted to. They came not expecting anything and only came to give. They showed kindness and love in their smiles, they spoke words of love, showed love with a warm embrace and most of all gave of themselves for the sake of others. As I watched each and everyone of them, I saw the true meaning of Christmas lived out, I saw the gift of Love poured out to so many who may have been forgotten that day.
Today some of our park friends were talking about what a wonderful Christmas day they had and what a wonderful group of people that came down to share it with them. In time they may not remember your names, but they will always remember the kindness and love you showed them. You gave of yourself and loved unconditionally…this is the biggest gift you could ever give. God gave his son out of love for us and in return you have extended that love to lives that were blessed that day.
I want to thank everyone for all you did to make the day happen. I so wish that those who couldn’t be there could have shared the day with us. It is hard to put into words the wonderful things I saw and felt. Whether you were there or not everything you did blessed so many people and I pray that those blessings are returned to you many times over. Once again thank you for loving and sharing yourself with so many…you made so many happy that day and you reflected the true meaning of Christmas, that is the biggest gift you could have given anyone.