Demonstrating the Power of the Jar, our Christmas Jar story this year is a two-parter:
First, as always, we collected our coins all year and then brought our jar to our local bank, which has a coin machine. They charge to convert coins to cash, but have always waived the fee when we shared the Christmas Jar story and handed the teller a book and a jar.
This year, when I asked if they could waive the fee, the young lady assisting us said she couldn't as only the manager (who wasn't there) could override the fee. We told her the jar story, and said we'd just go ahead and pay the fee separately so it wouldn't come out of the jar money, at which point she told us to wait a second and went into the bank's office.
In the meantime, the family behind us in line - Mom, Dad and a teenage girl - heard the whole story and were really excited about the jar, and the girl (whose eyes just lit up!) told us that they at been thinking about doing something like that. At that point we handed the family the book we were going to leave at the bank, and said "here you go, Merry Christmas!" They were thrilled and I guarantee they now have a jar in their home.
Meanwhile, the teller came back with the cash equal to the amount of coins in our jar. After she heard the story, she went to the trouble of depositing the conversion amount in her own account (as it was fee free) and then withdrawing that same amount and giving it back to us. Yet another person touched by the Magic of the Jar. We left her one, of course.
Then, we had a great plan for our jar this year, but all kinds of crazy things happened and it was Christmas Eve day. My son and I had planned a random jar drop at Toys R Us, but I couldn't even pull that off.
As I was getting ready on Christmas Eve afternoon to pick up my daughter at Dulles Airport, I was praying quite loudly inside my head "please Lord, I don't know what to do with my jar and its already Christmas Eve?!" Just then the local news came the TV and the first story was about flight delays and cancellations, with the reporter interviewing several soldiers who were stuck at - you guessed it - Dulles Airport. I looked up at God and said, "wow, that was fast!"
As soon as my daughter got off the plane I told her "come on, we need to stalk a soldier to give the jar to." We headed for the USO office at Dulles, and was just about to explain the whole jar thing to the lady at the desk, when a young, very weary looking soldier came through the door. Like the other soldiers in there, he was stuck in the USO office instead of on his way home.
Before he could even say anything, we handed him the jar and book, said "hi, this is for you, Merry Christmas," gave him a hug and ran for it -- giggling all the way through the terminal.
Our family is so grateful and proud of our men and women in uniform. We pray for them all the time and wish we could find ways to let them know how much the people back home support and care for them.
It wasn't what I had planned for the jar, but we know it made this young soldier's Christmas Eve as he tried to get home on Christmas Eve. We hope he will tell his jar story for years to come and will be the seed for many more Christmas Jar traditions.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
One of the most unique Christmas Jar stories ever
What amazing people! Thank you for your kindness to a worthy soldier.