Holiday Memories: On the first day of Christmas …
On the first day of Christmas, my true friend gave to me …
That’s the way it started, lo those 12 days before Christmas of the year 2000. And what we found on our doorstep for the next 12 days astounded us.
It wasn’t the magnitude of the gifts (although many of the gifts were extraordinary in our eyes). It wasn’t that the gifts were worth a lot (although a lot of money was spent on the total number of gifts).
It was the fact that someone was going way out of his or her way to make our Christmas a true wonder!
And wonder we did. Each morning, we wondered what would come next, what we would find sitting on our household entrance.
The first day, to start with, it was a Christmas wreath. And then one day, it was office items. One day, it was candy. One day, it was a collection of videos. One day, it was doughnuts. One day, it was gifts which demonstrated that these people knew us – and knew us fairly well.
And, of course, that 12th day – well, that 12th day completely astounded us. They knew us by name, and provided gifts for each of us, including a $200 gift certificate to a local mall.
Constantly on our minds was: Who is this, and how do we thank them appropriately? Should we catch them sneaking around in the early morning (usually around 3 to 4 a.m. we figured) so that we could say, “Thank you”?
Should we stay up until the normal time which they seemed to come and surprise them, and tell them how much we appreciated all they were doing? Or should we just receive from them, and leave them a little note saying, “Thank you so much!”
And do you know what we found out? We found that it is terribly hard to receive, and receive, and receive even more – and not to say, “Thank you! You are blessing us so much!”
And finally, we did the only thing that made sense: We were about to burst with thankfulness – and left the givers a batch of cookies and a note saying, “Thank you for your wonderful blessings. We truly appreciate you – our true friend !”
But just as hard as receiving was not hearing from this true friend, not hearing from them “you are welcome!”
And yet, with the continuing gifts, it was evident that we were truly welcome.
What was also so truly amazing about this was to tell our friends what was being done – and the gifts which arrived day by day. Co-workers would say, “What did they bring this time? Did you catch them and tell them how thankful you are?”
And over and over again, we would have to say, “No – that would ruin the purpose of this whole thing.”
And what was the purpose of this whole thing? What made it so wonderfully special in the wonder of Christmas itself?
In our hearts, it rang with the same joy and blessing as when the angels, beyond number and abounding with good news, appeared to the cold, wretched shepherds announcing, “Behold, tonight a Savior is born unto you who is the Messiah, Christ the King – and you will find him wrapped in rags and nestled in a cattle trough.”
What good news!
This good news still rings in our hearts, because day after day, that true friend announced the good news by bringing small gifts to remind us of the great gift, who is Jesus Christ!
We will never forget it! And when we talk about what we experienced – for two Christmases in a row – the true friend who did something so unusual, we talk with a great joy in our heart and good news as well. And that good news is made all the more real to us because that true friend showed us what our great true friend, our God and Father, says to us, that we are precious in His sight!
Rob Langguth lives in Dayton.