Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'I didn't think anyone really cared about me'

Charlotte Court House, Virginia:

I received a Christmas jar, this past Christmas eve. I haven't stopped crying since. My life had been until I lost everything. My family, my husband and my home were gone. I lived in my car for at least 6 months. My job was cut from full time to less than part time. Depression overcame me. What did i have to live for? I decided to remain strong in character and faith. I dragged myself back to church and in turn received many new friends and blessings from them. Still times were tough, hard to make ends meet. I decided that with God's love I would continue to be strong and do the best I could. The Christmas spirit was not in me but I continued to be steadfast in Christ's love. He never turned from me. He never left. He continued to pour out His love, grace and mercy upon me but I was blind.

Christmas Eve morning I woke early. I was going through the "routine" of morning tea and depression when I looked outside. The sun was just coming up and it was then I saw a sitting on the hood of my car ...a gift....a present for me? I didn't think anyone really cared about me. Most were wrapped up in their own lives preparing for their families and their celebrations together. I grabbed my shoes and ran outside. What a blessing ...a jar filled with money. It must be a mistake!!! Inside was a novel about the Christmas Jar. It explained it all.

Tears welled and then streamed down my face. This jar was meant for me !!!! My faith in mankind was truly restored.My God is so good!!! I will keep the jar going to restore others faith. Truly, my life has changed.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'Bless you back'

As I've said, I have received more CJ stories than I have time to post. Hope to slowly catch up.

Houston, TX:

Christmas Eve 2009:

Discovered a mason jar filled with coins in the back of my work truck. No note or anything, just written on the lid.

To the person who blessed me with this, thank you very much. Everybody knows times are getting tough lately, and my wife and I appreciate your kindness and generosity very much.

Bless you back.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'We lost our home friday night to fire''

Every Christmas Jar story is special, but this one really stands out, doesn't it? To whomever gave this jar, I add my thanks to Dan and Jody's.

Dayton, Ohio

Hello, My name is Dan and my wife is Jody. We lost our home friday night to fire it was so devastating to us because we have five children who lost everything they had, we just had triplets and when we were sitting there watching our house burn to the ground all I could think about is what are we going to do then we started getting calls one right after the other with total strangers wanting to help, while we were staying at a friends house someone left a christmas jar on there back step in the middle of the night along with your book, you cant imagine the warm feelings that this made me feel, its amazing the way the community has took us in and made this so much easier.

thank you

Dan & Jody

Christmas Jars on Fox & Friends

In case you missed it. Lori and Jack did an amazing job!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'God answered both of our prayers'

Merry Christmas! Inspirational stories are coming in faster than we can post them. Eventually all will be available online, but in the meantime, read this standout that came in overnight. It brought tears to my eyes all three times I read it. I bet your experience is the same.

Fairfax, VA

To the beautiful mother with three young boys. I wanted you to know that I prayed to be guided to you. And God answered my prayer. I tucked my kids in bed before I left. I listened for promptings from the Spirit as I pulled away from my house and went to a nearby grocery store. It was Christmas eve and it was late in the evening. The grocery store had closed hours ago. It was cold and dark and the ground was covered in heavy snow. I saw a few people walking home after working all day. But they weren't the ones I was sent to find. I kept driving and found myself at a K-Mart that was about to close. I waited in the parking lot for almost 30 minutes watching for someone. I even thought I had found the right family when I saw a young couple with a child park their car and walk into the store.

I waited for the prompting to give them our jar that we had carefully filled week by week.

But the prompting was to wait, they were not the family I was looking for.
Then you came out of the store with your three boys. You hadn't bought anything. Your boys were quick to get to the car and you pulled away before I could get across the parking lot to talk to you. So I followed your van as you drove away. I would never do that, except that the Spirit prompted me to follow. You drove less than a half mile to the nearest bank. (The same one that I went to earlier in the week to get a few extra bills that went in the jar.) It was very late at this point and I worried that you would panic when you saw me waiting in my van while you visited the ATM. I tried to stand in the light as you came out. I noticed that you only withdrew a single bill from the ATM.

It took a lot of courage for me to speak up and ask if you would accept our gift. I'm not an extroverted type. You looked at me cautiously. I tried to explain how my kids had entrusted me to deliver the jar on Christmas eve. They had all gone to bed and I could not return home before finishing my duty of love.

As I held out the jar, you looked at me again and then reached up and received it. And then you gave me a great big hug. My heart was overjoyed and I cried. And then your beautiful boys climbed out of the van to run over and thank me with pure joy that only a child can share. And I cried again as I made my way back home.

Thank you so much for receiving our gift. I am so grateful to have witnessed the awesome power of God in the lives of both of our families this evening. God answered both of our prayers.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: Two back-to-back stories that make you smile

These two stories came in exactly five minutes apart. I hope both the giver and receiver read these and smile as big as I did.

What's the real miracle? That the recipient will never know who her angel is... That's the beauty of the Christmas Jars tradition. It doesn't always have to be anonymous, but it sure it special when it is.


I just had the true & pure pleasure of giving away my 1st ever Christmas jar! I am so excited & cannot start next year's jar too soon! I cannot give details because I know my recipient will be looking for me!!!

I waited for the intended victim (hehe) to leave her business to go to the bank & when she went in, I quickly placed her jar on her business' doorstep...she would have to move it to even get back in! It was simple, in a plastic bag, nothing to give away the precious contents.

I had not heard of this idea until I saw it on Glen Beck a few weeks ago & I immediately knew who was to get one from me. She is such a wonderful lady, she started a business this year, and it has been awfully slow, I know she is struggling just to pay her rent. She has no family nearby, but many of us love her & treasure her friendship. God spoke to me so clearly that He wanted to bless her this way! Thank you for the miracle I have in MY heart today because of this idea!


I arrived at my shop this morning and went to the bank to make a small deposit, when I came back to open the door I found this jar of change on the porch. I went next door to Out West Designs to ask if they had seen anyone? Nancy said no.

When I explained what had happened I started to cry. I am crying now because this is such a wonderful gift and I never in a million years would have expected anyone to do this for me.

I am the one doing this kind of thing.

Whoever you are I thank you with the bottom of my heat for feeling I am worthy of this. You have made my year and now the new year to come in. Again thank you and blessings be with you and yours forever.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'wondering where rent would come from'

You wouldn't believe how many Christmas Jar stories I'm getting this week. Here's another miraculous one.

Orem, Utah:

Story: I heard a knock on my door last night, we have been struggling so much lately, even wondering where rent would come from. Being from Utah I am a mormon, and I was given a promise that if I would pay my tithing that I would be blessed. I can not believe the things that have transpired since that day in my bishop's office when I put my tithing into the envelope. We have been blessed beyond belief, last night as I was wondering how I would get my kids something for Christmas a knock came on my door, I opened it and there was a jar full of coins, and a book Christmas Jars. This is a blessing beyond belief! I will be able to take care of our families needs, and not feel so much pressure as we approach the day of our Savorior's birth. I am so grateful to whom ever left this gift on my door step. I pray that I will be in a position that I can pay it forward someday. This is truly one of the greatest blessings that could have come to my family.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'I am emotionally speechless'

Declo, Idaho:


WE just had the most "AWESOME'EST" thing done! We heard a small knock at the door. I thought the kids were playing and paid no attention to it. Casey was in his office and got up to check it out. When he opened the door no one was there, but he noticed someone had left a quart size jar on our porch, Casey picked it up and then looked around to see who left it, he noticed someone in a hoodie walking away. Casey said THANK YOU, and the person kept walking! SO Cas came inside and immediately I heard my name called. He was yelling throughout the house, HON look what someone just left us!

It was a jar filled with MONEY that had a note attached that read CHRISTMAS JAR! Oh wow, what a blubbering baby I am right now. I have such a grateful heart, that someone, or some family thought to save their money up until right before Christmas and then to deliver it to us! I am speechless and overcome with emotion. It's so powerful to see that so many people do live and celebrate the true meaning of CHRISTMAS, being a true example of our Saviour, giving and sacrificing all for the sake of someone else benefit! Wow, my heart is FULL!

The ironic part to this story is that we moved a month ago, TODAY I thought I would unpack and organize my husband office. I came across a book given to me a year ago called, "CHRISTMAS JARS". I immediately put it aside and thought to myself this will be great to read to the kids right before Christmas. After we found our own jar, my husband came in and said, the book you pulled out today to read, that's what it's all about. THE CHRISTMAS JARS. I must admit I can't wait for our family to be able to fill a jar next year and to adorn someone with it! Thanks to a wonderful book with a life changing and meaningful concept.

Fort Myers mom calls Christmas Jar a Christmas miracle

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'We still struggle with the tears'

Perhaps more than any Christmas Jars story I've ever received, this one reminded me of my dad and how we felt 22 years ago this week when he passed on. Much like for this wonderful woman, the Christmas Jar has been a blessing for my family to remember the struggles of others when usually it's much easier to focus on our own heartache.

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Last November I lost the most wonderful and loving husband to cancer. I have been given the awesome task of raising righteously our seven beautiful children, ages 14-2. We miss him horribly, you could not find a more devoted husband and daddy.

We still struggle with the tears, they will surely flow for years to come. But this, the second Christmas season without Duane we needed to try and focus on others and not just our own sorrow.

That is when the Christmas Jar popped into my mind! As much as we still mourn for our father/husband I know others out there too are struggling with their own sorrow, poverty, or loneliness. Thank you for the inspiration, for sharing your talent with the world, for listening to the spirit and writing the Christmas Jars.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'My husband is dying of leukemia'

Simply amazing! This is what the tradition of the Christmas Jar is all about.

Hagerstown, MD

My husband is dying of leukemia and one night I was sitting in the bedroom beside him looking at my deceased mother's photo album when I heard the doorbell. When I answered it, nobody was there but on the doormat was a book with a jar tied to it with a red gingham ribbon. I took it inside and ran to the window to see if I could see anyone outside. I did not. About that time the phone rang and a girl said for me to open my door there was a gift for me and she hung up.

I went back to the bedroom and began reading the Christas Jars book to find out the meaning of this gift. I was shaking and in disbelief that anyone would do such a king and generous act for us.

The next day about noontime, I finally decided to open the jar and count the contents. To my amazement, there was over $500 in the jar! I believe my mother was my angel that night that caused this wonderful act of kindness to come to us. Not knowing how to properly thank an anonyomous giver, I decided that the best thing I could do would be to start my own Christmas jar so that next year I can lift someone's spirits the way mine was this Christmas when things were so difficult. It's something I will never forget.

God's love did come down at Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'I sat in my car and sobbed'

Alvin, Texas

My husband and I have had a very rough year. First, hurricane Ike destroyed our hom. Then, in May, my husband had an emergency quadruple bypass operation. We have two young boys, ages 9 and 4. My husband lost a lot of hours at his second job and we have been struggling. Today, I was at the end of my rope. I am a Christian. I love the Lord and know that He is in control, but today, I was feeling very sorry for myself. I didn't have enough money to pay the water bill, let alone presents for our children for Christmas. I was leaving work (my church is also my employer) and when I got to my car, there was a gift on my front seat. It was a jar with around $130 inside. Attached to the jar was a note that said "may you be blessed this Christmas". I sat in my car and sobbed. I have never felt the presence of Christ more than I did at that moment. I cannot wait until we are back on our feet so that I may touch someone's life the way I was touched today. What a remarkable, miraculous gift.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'terribly injured in a motorcycle accident'

Elko, NV

Story: My husband was terribly injured in a motorcycle accident on November 5th, 2009. Although his back and neck were broken, he miraculously was not paralyzed. He also suffered severe facial lacerations. He was flown by air ambulance to our local hospital, and then to a bigger hospital in another city.

While we have good insurance with his job, the medical costs of meeting deductibles and paying for what wasn't covered, along with cost of time being off work added up quickly.

Family and friends organized a huge benefit, with a dinner, auction, and fundraising rodeo.

We received our Christmas Jar, along with the book, from someone who just stopped by the dinner and gave it to one of the organizers.

It is such a beautiful and inspring gesture to know that someone we didn't even know, who presumably read about our situation in the local paper, took the time to care.

Christmas Jar Story: 'Its hard spiritually as well as financially'

It's impossible to pick favorite Christmas Jar stories, but if I did, this would be a contender!

Las Vegas, Nevada:

I am a pregnant, single mother, with a son who has autism. As many families of the spectrum, we have a broken home. Its hard spiritually as well as financially. We were to have a meager Christmas, as I am pregnant, and saving for the birth of my second child. I opened the front door, to take my son to one of his many appointments, and to my suprise found a giftbag waiting for us. There was a simple note that said "Have a very merry Christmas". in the bag we found a jar filled with change, dollar bills, and a book "Christmas Jars". I took the money as a sign to get my beautiful son the best Christmas he would remember. I thank the angel that made our holiday so the much better!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'we plan to give away a jar ourselves now'

Stephens City, VA

We are a struggling family of 6, myself, Andy and our four children, Cat 8, Teagan 6, Bella 3, and Joshua 1. I was laid of last May, Andy just lost his job last Friday. Last night, Monday Dec. 14th, while I was at work, we received a Christmas Jar. Andy was in the kitchen and there was a knock at the front door. Our oldest daughter Cat didn't wait for Andy to open it, which would normally make us mad, but not this time. Someone driving a white car handed her the book, and a jar full of change. When I came home from work Andy showed it to me and it made me cry. I am halfway done with the book, should finish it today, and we plan to give away a jar ourselves now. Thank you Jason Wright for sharing this miracle with our family, bless you and your family always!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: 'She was the one'

Rochester, New York

What was it about her that made us know? She was the one. Our first recipient of our Christmas Jar. We saw her on the way to search for someone "worthy". She walked int he middle - blond curly locks moving slowly but surely - two little girls on each side - her guardians. Simply dressed - no purs- was her face sad? pensive? tired? One thing I know - it was beautiful and for one moment - uncomplicated. We handed her the book Christmas Jars,the wegman's bag with our jar of money, said "Merry Christmas" and got in our car. One of the little ones responded to our greeting with vocal awe of a child. All 3 gazed into the bag, the woman flipped through the pages of the book, her face flushed, a look of surprise turned to happy as she genuinely smiled, perhaps gratefully. I'd like to think she needed that money. I'd like to know she will use it well. She was the right person. The deep satisfaction and joy we felt tell us so. Her smile was a great gift to us!

Christmas Jar Story: 'You have saved our Christmas'

Coraopolis, Pennsylvania

Story: This year has been a tough one for my husband and I. Being a military family we were forced to move to an unfamiliar place. Finances were running very low and after being relocated to a place without family or friends we had lost a lot of our faith in people and in life. Today we recieved a Christmas Jar on our doorstep and our hearts were filled with such immense joy we could hardly contain them. We had prayed all week for a miracle and God had sent us and angel. To think that a person could be so selfless and kind as to present such a random act of kindness and not even take credit for their generousity. Whoever you are you have saved our Christmas and warmed our hearts. We are eternally grateful and look forward to sharing such an amazing tradition next year ourselves. God bless!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Life, Love and the Pursuit of Indie Bookstores

Friday was the last official book signing for the season along with it came a great little place called Winchester Book Gallery. I don't often get to accompany Jason on these little indie bookstore book signings but this one was close to home so I went along. What a great little place with wonderful people, a warm atmosphere and not to mention the fact that it's located in old downtown Winchester.

Now I don't know about you but these kind of bookstores make my heart go pitter-patter... I love, love, love them... the books... oh the books. I just want to pick up each and every one and read a little excerpt from them... the colors what great happy colors... the chairs the oh so soft and comfortable chairs... I could get lost in here for hours...

I know you want to grab a book off the shelf... go ahead don't be shy... oh wait it's only a picture

Oh and these... calling all babies I just want some babies to read to... anyone?... anyone?... I promise to return them to you when the story is over.

But alas we are not here for me and my solo trips to indie bookstores... although I will say they don't happen very often... instead today we are here for these books

and this author who is signing said books in said indie bookstore that I just happen to be in... oh wait I came with said author

Now these two young girls... I must tell you about these two beautiful girls.

Earlier in the day, said author and myself were in a local Wal-mart in the Winchester area. On our way out of the store the beautiful brunette in the picture walked up to said author and asked "Are you Jason Wright?" I think she was a bit surprised to see us in the local Wal-mart in her town. She asked for a picture which we snapped on her cell phone and then I let her in on a little secret... I said "Hey he's doing a book signing in town tonight." And later that night she showed up to get her book signed and to take a picture with a better camera and she brought along her beautiful sister. Thanks ladies for coming by it was great to meet you both.

Well as the year wraps up I must say I am so grateful to have my husband back home we have missed him this season as he has traipsed around the countryside. Thanks to all of you who have come to the signings, shared your experiences and reminded us that each day of our lives is made just a little bit better by sharing stories that bring us closer together. May you all be blessed this Christmas season and into the New Year.

Christmas Jar Story: 'I am in awe over the kindness of people'

(Name withheld)

I am in awe over the kindness of people around me. I have 2 young kids and am currently seperated seeking divorce from a man who is not who I thought he was. He is losing his job over what he has done, so I was left wondering what I was going to do for my kids at Christmas. 2 Days ago my son called me at work to tell me someone left a gift outside. I told him to take it in and leave it on the table. When I got home and opened it, I nearly fell to the floor. I just couldn't believe it. A jar filled with more than enough to make sure my kids have a very Merry Christmas. I don't know who did this for us, but I hope you are reading this because my words are all I have to thank you right now. I want you to know that my life now will be spent 'paying it forward', so that others may feel the hope, security and love I have felt from SO MANY during this extremely sad and difficult time in my kids and my life. God Bless you.

Christmas Jar Story: 'We are forever grateful'

(Name withheld)

Our second child was born in June. Two months later, I began having minor complications "leftover" from delivery. As of date, I've had two surgeries and one more scheduled. On top of all of the medical bills, I am paying for school for my Masters degree. Our heater went out and we had a $1000 bill for that. Needless to say, we were taking a serious look at our budget. We wanted to be able to do Christmas for our two boys and a birthday for our oldest born in December. Our coworkers (we both teach at the same school) put together a fast Christmas Jar to help us out this month. The Christmas Jar and Reunion books were both included. I read both books in one week and absolutely loved them. We are so humbled and blessed by our coworkers' thoughtfulnes. Right away, we got a jar of our own and started it so that it will be full by next year. I can't wait to do this tradition with my boys as they get older. We are forever grateful to our wonderful "family" at work and will never forget their generosity.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: Even in pain and ruin, this man starts a Christmas Jar with $1.95

(Name withheld)

I just finished watching you on the Glenn Beck show and was greatly blessed by what you do, or more properly, have created. If I may, I would like to share with you my circumstances right now as I sit at this computer.

I lost 3/4 of my 401k and withdrew the remainder before I was totally wiped out.
Major structural collapse of the foundation of my home took the remainder; insurance did not cover it.

I am 68 years old, worked all my life, am a bible believing Christian and a giver.

I live on social security, a small pension and a VA disability.

I blew out my right hip last year and it took months of aftercare to get back on my feet.

This summer while mowing the lawn, the mower smacked into an exposed tree root which was like 6" thick.

I was stiff armed on the steering wheel, this mishap ripped 3 of the 4 muscles from my left shoulder rotator cuff.

I had the surgery, wear a sling and am in pain all the time.

I can handle it, I know that eventually "this too shall pass."

I am unable to meet my bills, filed insolvency, have $1.95 in my change jar and maybe $15.00 in cash to get me from today to the end of the month.

Today is Wednesday, Nov 25th.

I care for my 91 year old mother who is in a nursing home and I am committed to taking her out for Thanksgiving.

Somehow, one way or another, I will do it and I will do it without fanfare or begging.
I have one credit card and it shows about $20.00 remaining credit.

My car has less than a quarter of a tank of gas.

Guess what Jason, I took my $1.95 in change and started a Christmas Jar with it.

God bless you brother.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: Short, sweet, moving

(Name withheld)

It isn't a stretch to say I have had a tough year, but let me tell you about something that happened last night. I went to work like every other night. After lunch I had to get something out of my locker. Someone had put an anonymous Christmas present in my locker. It was VERY heavy. I figured it was a joke. Anyway I took it home and my son "convinced" me to open it. I did a little while ago. I am still a little choked up. I just want everyone to know this...I am blessed to have kind, decent, Christian guys to work around, with, and for. They are hilarious, disgusting (lol), smart, good men. I will never forget this, and I will always appreciate it. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: Best line ever

(Name withheld)

I read the book earlier this year and decided to give out a jar.

My wife just had a baby two months ago and I was let go from my job of 9 years the Monday before Thanksgiving.

Although we could probably use all the change for formula or diapers, I have decided to put at least $100 in the jar and give it to my daughter's Sunday School Teacher.

Sister M. has struggled all year while working only part time jobs (sometimes three at a time) to make ends meet. I know the amount she will get will not go very far, but I know it will come in handy.

I wish I could see her face when she gets the jar. Her tears would be like diamonds to me.

Christmas Jar Story: A Christmas Jar in a box to a most worthy recipient

(Name withheld)

This year has been very difficult on my children and I. The one I thought was my eternity turned out to be something quite different and for safety and other reasons, he was removed from our home. Things had been bad awhile, but courage finally came. We have struggled on several planes. Things had been particulary difficult recently. Sunday found me sobbing often. When I arrived at church there was a hefty box where I usually sit with my family's name on it. I took it out to my van and went into the service. For the first time in my life I got up and went to the restroom and shut myself in a stall and bawled. My mother's loving arms somehow found me and I made it back into the meeting. When I arrived home my children were bustling to get changed and I took a moment and opened the box.

The writing on the box looked familiar. I found a copy of the book, Christmas Jars tucked inside of tissue paper and with a little struggle exhumed a 20lb jar of coins from the box. So many needs were met all at once. I am so blessed. The years will tell a story that we will never know. Thank you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: A sweet reminder that there is always someone else in greater need

(Name withheld)

My brother showed up at Thanksgiving with two full Christmas Jars. He handed them to me and asked me to find someone to donate them to.

Two years ago his wife lost her job. She is the bread winner and he stays home with their three boys, twin 13 year olds and a 6 year old. She found a part time job that obviously didn't pay nearly what she was making before. For the past two years they have literally scraped by unbeknownst to the rest of the family.

My sister-in-law started a new job three weeks ago. This was something we had all been hoping and praying for. Although the job will financially get them back to being "ok" their debts are astronomical. It will take years to pay them off. There have been surgeries, a house payment, two car payments and of course five mouths to feed. Several days after giving me his two full jars he called me to let me know they were probably going to lose one of their cars because they were so behind on the payment!

But yet.....he had the heart to fill two jars with his boys and donate them to someone else in need! I think his situation deserves a Christmas Jar but his spirit shows there is always someone worse off or more needy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: Amazing story proves you don't need to wait until Christmas to give out your Christmas Jar

(Name withheld)

This year, I gave my jar early, I gave it today. I met a wonderful lady at a new job I started in March 2008, we quickly became fast friends. In September of that same year she was fired because "she was too slow in fullfilling her duties." This woman was at the end of the seventh month of her pregnancy, of course she slowed down, they didn't care.

This September I was fired from the same company because "I expected too much from the others when I was the Charge Nurse for the day." Actually I was due for a large bonus to be paid if I was still there on a certain date. They made sure I wasn't.

So needless to say, I wasn't sure I would be able to pass out that jar this year. Well I did today, my friend called me in tears, she was being evicted if she didn't have full rent by Monday. So I crawled a little further down into the center of my saftey net and found a little more, you see, the only thing my friend wanted for Christmas, was a roof over her children's head on Christmas morning. As of today, she can relax a little knowing for at least this month, they will be safe and warm.

Nets are ment to catch those who have fallen, but you know what happens everytime someone hits that net? They bounce back up. I hope that during that trip back up, my friend will get a glimpse of the brighter days to come.

God Bless and Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How do I determine who should get my Christmas Jar?

"How do I determine who should get my Christmas Jar?"

This is the most common question I hear this time of year. Every single day someone comments that they have a jar ready to give, but don't know how to find the right recipient.

My family has given away several jars since first experimenting with the tradition in 2004. Every year has been a little different.

2004: We gave our jar to a young man leaving the country to do volunteer church work.
2005: We mailed our jar to a family suffering the loss of a loved one.
2006: We gave our jar to a father and his young children who'd recently lost their mother.
2007: We gave our jar to a trucker at a truck stop on Christmas Eve.
2008: We gave our jar to a family who days earlier had lost their father.

Each situation was a little different. In 2006, 2007 and 2008, we didn't even know the families who received our jars. We simply asked friends if they knew of others in need.

As I like to say, there is no right way or wrong way to give a jar away. Sometimes the need is financial, sometimes it's emotional, sometimes it's spiritual. This year if you're struggling to find someone worthy, you might try some of these ideas:

-Watch your local paper for stories about house fires or car accidents.

-Read your local obituaries.

-Walk into the pediatric wing of your local hospital.

-Ask your pastor or other church leaders if they know of someone with a special need.

-Ask your boss or supervisor in confidence if they know someone with a special need.

-Ask teachers or principals if there are special needs with a particular teacher or family.

-Hand your jar to someone in a parking lot who looks as if the jar could bless their life.

-Give your jar to the director of a homeless shelter, women's shelter or other non-profit organization.

Also, remember that while many people give their jars on Christmas Eve, there is no wrong time to deliver yours. Let the magic of the jar guide you!

Finally, when in doubt, pray for the right recipient. There's no doubt you'll find the perfect person to bless.

(Do you have an idea? Feel free to leave it in the comments below.)

Win an autographed copy of all 7 books

When one contest ends, another begins!

This one is the easiest contest I've ever run:

1. Take a picture of your Christmas Jar.
2. E-mail picture to
3. Wait to be randomly selected no later than December 21st.

What's the new Grand Prize?

7 free books! The winner will receive autographed/personalized hardcover copies of:

The James Miracle (currently out-of-print)
Christmas Jars
Christmas Jars Reunion
Penny's Christmas Jar Miracle
The Wednesday Letters
Recovering Charles
The Cross Gardener (rare advance reading copy, paperback)

Easy enough?

Just take a picture of your Christmas Jar (people and pets welcome in the shots!) and e-mail it today. Cell phone pics, low quality pics, all are welcome!

Then sit back and wait to see if yours is randomly selected.

Good luck!

Christmas Jar Story: Paying a Christmas Jar forward

(Name withheld)

I came home from school a few days ago to find a jar of change on the cupboard. My mom told me that someone at church had left it for us. She explained the point of the jar. She loved that we had received it but felt that others could benefit from it too. So today she called my aunt and told her that she wanted to give it (anonymously) to my cousin because he lost his job and didn't even have any money to get christmas presents for his kids. She kept saying "we don't need it. We've been helped out already and now it's time to help someone else." As my mom was talking to her sister she was almost crying over the phone. This jar has truly been an amazing 'experience'.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: The definition of sheer joy

(Name withheld)

I received a Christmas Jar!!! I'd never heard the story but am anxious to read the book as I was also gifted with the book!

For about a year and a half I'd worked in a particular office. As office-mates we share life stories. My story includes financial struggles (separated for years from now former spouse, single-parenting all along, etc.). I was recently blessed with a new position that includes a substantial increase in pay (that I was not searching for but God knew what I needed, as always). I thought I could use my vacation pay for Christmas gifts for my kids but when I discovered that vacation pay is released after the last check with any actual hours worked I knew those funds would come after the holiday.

Well my coworkers know I have a daughter in her Master's Program at The Ohio State University, and two sons, a sophomore at a local community college, and a 12-year old 7th grader. Its the youngest that I was obviously most concerned with providing gifts for on Christmas morning. My two older kids are incredibly supportive and loving and understanding so giving them a "late" Christmas was acceptable for them. My youngest said the words but come Christmas morning, I'm sure he would have been feeling somewhat differently (I remember being 12!).

The day before leaving for my new position my coworkers did a pot-luck and terrific food and I found a Christmas Jar on my desk! Of course, NO one claims it. They say whoever provided it "must have been pretty sneaky" because they didn't see them leave it.

That Christmas Jar has so many coins in it!! Most of which are quarters and there are even many folding monies in there!! And they also gave me a hard-back copy of the book "Christmas Jars." Of course, I cried! I think its one of the best Christmas gifts I or my family has ever received! And I cannot wait to tell my kids all about how God provided for them through others in this wonderful way :)

God is good all the time! And ALL the time, GOD is GOOD!!! :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jason's Cheesy Web Videos - Episode #18

I'm a few days late, but I'm happy to announce the winner in our latest contest.

Many of you sent in postcards from all across the country sharing one thing you were grateful for. Then last night I sat behind across the room with my girls and we threw the entries (postcards) into a bucket. After each round we re-threw only the cards in the bucket until there were only two cards left. And the winner of the latest grand prize is...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Jar Story: Would you keep filling your jar if this happened to you?

One of the most touching Christmas Jar stories I've heard. What a wonderful person to stay so dedicated to their jar in the face of such adversity!

(name withheld)

This past January we started our Christmas jar, and the end of January while on my way to work I was involved in a freak auto accident. I had not worn a seat belt in the 44 years of my life. but that morning I had strong prompting to do so, and I buckled up. 15 minutes later I was struck and totaling my pick up, breaking my knee and femur in multiple places. It laid me up pretty good and I lost my job. But I had good insurance, and we had some money to start with and my parents are in a position to help when our money runs out, at least some. So we have been blessed and continued to put our change in the jar.

There is an individual that struggles but does all that she can to take care of her family and provide for them all. We were able to have a dear friend deliver the Christmas jar for us. We are thankful for that opportunity and pray it will bring as much relief and joy to them, as it has to us.

Christmas Jars Map has been updated!

Amazing that each star represents a jar. All those lives about to be changed this Christmas. A miracle? Could be...