The Best Christmas Gift of All

I have always sent out Christmas cards every year since I was a teenager.  I would send them out to everyone including people I have not talked to in months and to people I have not seen in years. This year, not feeling in tune with the Christmas Spirit, I chose not to send out any cards. And of course the one year I choose not to do this is the year I get the most wonderful unexpected surprise of my life. 

When I was around 5 years old, my parents and my two younger brothers, moved next door to this elderly couple. From the moment we moved in, it was clear that there was some discord between them and our family. Years passed by and many battles over noise, land, trespassing, and other disputes caused me to not like them and in turn I figured they hated us. We also heard they did not like their own children so we concluded for certain that they did not like my brothers and me. 

Years later after my mother’s divorce, things began to change and a reconciling slowly took place due to the fact my mom always extended a kind hand their way. If she saw them, she would always stop and chat for a bit especially with the woman. As time passed, the elderly woman began to have many health problems and my mother would always show concern for her well being. If the man was working on something, my mom would offer a compliment on a job well done. Before my brothers and I knew it, these cold, hard people actually became warm and friendly. If we walked by, they would stop and talk to us. We, in time, thought of them as our adopted grandparents.

Eventually we all moved away but the couple remained there in the old neighborhood. I kept in touch via my yearly Christmas card, even though I never received one back in return. It did not matter though because I do not send out cards in order to receive. My purpose is just to give. Last December, my mom flew into town and we decided to go and visit our favorite elderly couple. I had already sent them their Christmas card. 

Upon our visit, we learned his wife had passed away a few months back. One of his daughter’s had come to live with him and it was apparent how distraught he was. But in his grief, he turned to me and thanked me for the beautiful card I had sent him. I thought about him on the ride home and how a life without her would be very hard for him. The story of how they met is what helps me continue to believe in romantic soul mates.

One year later, a few days before Christmas, I opened my mailbox and inside laid the most magnificent present I have ever received. It was a Christmas card from my favorite elder man. I opened it up and read what he had written. It stated how last year was the most difficult time in his life and he was sorry he did not send me a card back. He wrote he missed our family and it was nice seeing us again. He also saved my card from last year because he thought it was so nice. And he signed it with, “We didn’t forget”. 

Well my heart filled with so much joy and the tears flowed non-stop. After all these years, I know I have made a difference in someone’s life and he and his wife have definitely made a difference in mine. I did not have anything to do today but my purpose became clear. I immediately ran out and purchased him a personal Christmas card of his very own and included a little key chain, in memory of his wife, with the Corinthians passage of, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I know he misses his wife terribly and I shared with him the many things he made my heart feel today. I will forever be grateful for the little Christmas card that reminded me of the true reason why I send out cards; to let people know they are never alone.

Merry Christmas Mr. & Mrs. M.

*Re-posted from 12/09/10

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14 Response to "The Best Christmas Gift of All"

Jen said...

What an amazing, touching story. I, too, love to send out Christmas cards. It's such a simple, easy way to send a blessing.

H.H. said...

Thank you Jen! It is one of my favorite personal stories and it's still emotional to read. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

becca said...

i'm from Lady Blogger Tea Party and very new to the blog world but love your post i also love sending and receiving cards there is something very personal about a handwritten card.

julie said...

Ok, now you've got me crying. That was incredibly touching and really well written. It sums up perfectly why we send out our cards every year.

Thanks so much for stopping by, it's great to meet you!

Anonymous said...

"We don't forget" - it is amazing how daily kindnesses plant seeds that bloom in the most amazing ways at the most amazing times. I haven't done Christmas cards in 2 years. My oldest son married and I just cannot bring myself to send a card with just 4 boys sans one! It kind of breaks my heart:)

Your story is a beautiful reminder all those lovely neighbors I grew up with who are no longer here - and all the kindnesses we did for each other:)

H.H. said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you ladies. I appreciate your visit and comments. =-)

Jeannie, Jane, Angel, Mommy, etc.. said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting today. I love this post! It shows how sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest impact.

H.H. said...

You're welcome Jeannie! And thank you for visiting and commenting. It really is the little things that matter most in life. =-)

Kimberly said...

Definitely highlights what Christmas should be all about. Wonderful story. Touched my heart today.

H.H. said...

Thanks Kimberly! I hope you had a great Christmas surrounded by those you love. =-)

Brenna @ Almost All The Truth said...

What a lovely reminder for us all. One person doing one small thing really can make a difference!

Michelle~ Mommy Confessions said...

I adored this post! I'm visiting from SITS! I will surely be back. Happy New Year!

H.H. said...

Thank you Brenna and Michelle! I hope your New Year is coming along great so far!

Living in Taradise said...

Wow what an amazing post! Encouraging and inspiring! Thank you for stopping by on my SITS feature day and helping to make it wonderful!

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