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GIVE-AWAY CHRISTMAS


Richard Myers tells the story of being a reservist and being called back to active duty in Fort Monmouth, NJ, canceling his Christmas plans with his family in IN. Feeling low, he turned on the radio and heard an appeal from the Post Office for volunteers to answer letters sent to Santa. He went and poured over the letters, choosing four and bought the requested gifts.


His first was a family in Harlem, a wife who had written the letter on behalf of her children and her husband a discharged serviceman. They reluctantly accepted the gift and he went on his way. The next was from Kathleen whom he found living in a very large, luxurious brownstone. He explained that he was Santa’s helper and assured her that Santa wanted her to know that she would not be forgotten. Her mother thanked Richard and said, "Thank you. We can give her toys but we cannot give her the joy of this experience." The third was William who had written from Spanish Harlem. He couldn’t find the address but ended up meeting a single mother with five children and gave her enough money to buy presents for each.


The fourth letter was from Lucille, a young mother who wrote that she was separated from her husband and hoped that Santa would help bring gifts to her children. When Richard knocked on the door, he was surprised to see a man answer. It seems they had gotten back together and they invited him in and had a wonderful conversation as he shared his experiences of the day.


And then he writes, "All day I had traveled about on buses and the subway. My feet were soaked from the snowy streets. There had been no spectacular experiences. In fact, several had been awkward. There had been only one real case of need. But for one whole day, I hadn’t thought of myself and had enjoyed myself thoroughly. When I went to bed that night, there was a glow inside me because deep down, I had found Christmas by giving it away."


(From a sermon by Tim Smith, The Gift with a Cost, 10/19/2009)

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