SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

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A REAL SURPRISE CHRISTMAS GIFT

The person who wrote this touching story did not leave their name. But it sounds very real and I hope it will bless you. Christmas is more about giving than getting. After all, that was the day our Father in heaven gave the whole world the greatest gift they could have ever received, His Son Jesus to be our Lord and Savior.

This lady tells about going for some last Christmas shopping at Walmart. As she breezed through the automatic doors an elderly greeter with an elf hat perched merrily on his head cheerfully called out, “Happy Holidays!” Although Christmas was just two days away, the store was still decked out for the season: red garlands strung through the aisles, displays of twinkling lights and plastic Santas, and directly in front of the entrance, a big, tall fir tree, its branches hung with colorful ornaments.

All the shoppers around her seemed to be full of the Christmas spirit. She wished she could have felt it too, but this year her gift list was one name shorter than it should have been. Her Dad had died a few days ago and that was all she could think about.

After his doctor diagnosed him with leukemia at the age of 69, he refused to let it get him down. Up until he took his final breaths he kept smiling, trying to keep everyone upbeat. He knew he was going to a better place, he said, though he couldn’t imagine any place better than here with his wonderful family.

People would tell the lady, “Your dad, Preston, is the happiest person I know.” And they were right. She couldn’t remember a time when there wasn’t a smile on his face. It came from his generous and giving spirit – he got joy out of helping others, even if he sacrificed some things himself. He had a deep faith in God and believed the best about people. Even people who didn’t know him well would always smile when they saw him coming down the sidewalk with a big smile on his face.

Pushing her shopping cart past the greeter and looking down at her list it was all she could do to keep her composure. She always loved buying gifts for her Dad. He got so excited looking at a new shirt or shoes that she had picked out for him. Even when one Christmas she mistakenly bought him the same shirt as last Christmas. He told her how much he loved that shirt, and now with two, he could wear it twice as often. But now, she’d never experience that joy again.

In the center of one of the larger aisles, she noticed a tall Christmas tree. White tags hung from the branches in between the ornaments. It was one of those “Angel Trees,” she thought. Shoppers could choose a tag and buy a gift for a child of a prison inmate. But it didn’t seem to fit well with what she was feeling right then. So she started to walk on.

That’s when a sign in front of the tree caught her eye. “Be a Santa for a Senior.” Huh? She’d never heard of that program. She stopped. Something told her to grab a tag. Before she knew it, she reached out and grabbed a tag, and went looking for the items she came to buy.

While walking she turned the tag over and read: For a senior named Preston. Gift: shirt, size XL; pants, waist 42; and shoes or socks, size 12 – 12 ½. Preston! That was her dad’s name, and he wore the same size shirt, pants, and shoes. She whipped her shopping cart around and headed to Men’s Clothing. She would be able to buy a Christmas gift for a senior with the same name as her dad! She wished she could see the joy on Preston’s face when opening his gift. Suddenly, the Christmas spirit was alive in her heart.

We are all in the habit at Christmas time of buying a gift for our family and friends. But maybe this Christmas can be different if we think about giving a gift for someone we don’t even know, and someone who may not receive any gift unless we take the time to do so. It doesn’t have to be a shirt, it can be a meal, a smile, or even a Merry Christmas to a person who looks like they just need someone to treat them with love and respect. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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