Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"As she turned to walk towards us the tears were no longer held within"

The goodness of this man and his family just might take your breath away.

(Name withheld)

I am going to do my best to share my story of giving this December 24, 2008. I am a first time parent with a beautiful daughter and loving wife. As a child I remember our large family gathering around Christmas time that has left a lasting impression on my life. We for years would draw names and everyone would purchase gifts for the name of the relative or loved one that they received that year. We would all gather at my Aunts house and open gifts watch football and lose to my Dad and his Sister in Trivial Pursuit. Moments that you overlook in your youth, but then learn to cherish when you become a parent.

My wife and I built a house 3 years back, and held a Christmas party for our family and friends. Our second year we took that time off as we were expecting our first child and did not want to overwhelm ourselves by all the planning. This year we brought back the Christmas party but wanted to do something different. My idea at first was to start a family scholarship fund, giving to kids in need to expand their future. Talking with a fellow co-worker he asked if I head read the book called Christmas Jars. I had not, so he went on to share the story, gave me a copy to read and this is what came about.

I became overwhelmed with the story of giving. Feeling lucky to have a great job and loving family there was a story at a school in which I work that was evolving into a sad but inspiring story of courage, inspiration and love. A family with four children the oldest in college and the youngest in 8th grade. Their mother was battling cancer for the second time. Their father unable to work so he could stay home and care for his wife had inspired me beyond words. They were like no other family, great children who succeed in athletics and the classroom, a pleasure and joy to be around and work with. As I explained to my family and some of my co-workers that this years Christmas party would be our FIRST Christmas Jar it was an overwhelming and joy to see how many were in favor of the idea. Unlike the story it was a family effort, and many co-workers gave to this Jar and made what was a great start to a new family tradition.

During our party we had to add more jars as Children, parents, friends and many others dropping their change and cash into the jar. Many of them sharing with me their thoughts on the idea and most of all their warm hugs and true meaning of Christmas. I was a father now, and family has always been important to me and I can see that this family believes that same thing and carries the morals that I feel we share.

We were unsure how to deliver the package without them knowing who it was from. I had worked with many of the children so did not want to give away that aspect of the story and felt it was important to keep the identity of those kind enough to give a secret. So on December 24, 2008 we delivered the package to the family along with a copy of the book Christmas Jars. The copy was that same copy my co-worker shared with me as I felt it was his idea and he should be just as much a part of this as my family. I watched from the car with my little girl as my wife slowly approached the home. The father came to the door and my wife trying to fight back tears explained the story. Starting by saying "I am sure you do not know who I am" ....and he replied "no I do not." A perfect start to this precious moment. She gave him the book with an envelope inside which contained the total amount of coin and cash we collected ($1,515.00) and turned in to cash to make it easier on the family. Seeing what was taking place brought tears to my eyes, but also will leave a lasting impression on my heart. Besides my wife and child this was by far one of the best things I have ever done, or been a part of. As my wife finished her short story, the father reached over gave her a hug and replied with "Merry Christmas and God Bless." As she turned to walk towards us the tears were no longer held within, but visible on her red cheeks from the cold brisk air. A moment in which we shared as a family, but one that will forever be in our minds and hearts.

This is the start of what my family will make a true tradition each year. My hopes are that each year it will grow, and that some day my 7 month old will be the one delivering a Jar to someone who made need it. With many more years to come we have started our 2009 Christmas Jar and know that next year we will once again enjoy this reward of giving.

I wish you all the best in 2009 and hope that this book and this family have done for you what it has done for me. Best Wishes and God Bless!

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