Christmas

How does God speak to us…?

My wife and I have a little ritual that we do in the beginning of December every year. We go down to the Main Post Office and select a few Dear Santa letters. These are letters sent to Santa Claus and basically, they are undeliverable so, they just end up sitting there, waiting for answers.

We generally sift through them, take about five or ten and then lean on a few friends during the holiday season to take one or two and respond.

These are most often pleads to Santa, requesting that he please make a difference in some child or parent’s Christmas. It could be a situation where one parent is in the hospital and the child is asking for the Mom or Dad to get a gift.

It could be a parent, that’s lost their job and is desperately seeking a little help to make their family’s Christmas, just a little better! It might even be as simple, as a request for a nice Christmas dinner, you just never know?

Well…we took on this one letter that involved these twin sisters (Britney and Rebecca, 6-years old) who had written to Santa Claus about their family’s recent plight. It seemed that their Father became seriously injured at work and their Mom had also just lost her job. It looked pretty bad for their Christmas.

In their letter the girls weren’t asking for anything, for them. They were asking if, Santa could do anything to help their parents, by delivering a simple gift that might lift their spirits in this troubled time.

Well…My Wife went shopping and purchased some thoughtful gifts…and in spite of the girl’s absence of selfish requests, she bought them something to open on Christmas morning, as well!

You see, my Wife and I can remember a few Christmas’s as kids, when things were pretty tight and the tree went bare. So…it gives us a good feeling to try to make a difference in such a basic way that can be so memorable for those receiving a gift of kindness, from strangers. You see, in the anonymous role, you are working for God and that expression of unconditional love can last in the minds of people for a lifetime, especially yours!

The gifts were purchased and set in our dining room until the weekend, as my Wife needed to get the wrapping paper out of the attic.

It was an early December Sunday morning, about 10:00 am, when I heard a knock on the door. I answered it and there was a guy in his mid thirties, standing there in a flannel shirt, blue jeans and construction boots.

HIS QUESTION:Hello Mister…I was driving on the road out front and I noticed your large Oak Tree looking like it needs some trimming. Would you be interested in having it trimmed, before a large branch falls off during a storm and does some damage to your house

MY REPLY:Well…I’d been thinking about it but, I don’t really want to spend any money right now, just before Christmas on that funky old tree.

HIS REPLY:Well I’ll give you a great deal, if you do it today!

As I shifted my attention to his old truck in my driveway, I could see his family all packed into the front seat, his wife, his sons (about 10 and 12-years old) and his daughter (about 6-years old).

Now the gears started turning in my head…this guy was canvassing the neighborhood, looking for work in order to make a Christmas for his family.

MY QUESTION:Well…what’s it worth?”

HIS REPLY:How’s about, say $400.00?

MY REPLY:Will you cut all the wood up into nothing bigger than 2’ pieces so they’ll fit in my stove, stack them on the side of the house and bundle up the debris, for trash day?”

HIS REPLY:I’ll do one better…I’ll chip all the small branches so, you don’t have to have any debris!”

MY REPLY:OK…we’ve got a deal, buddy!

So the whole family got started, it was a family tree trimming affair and it seemed that they all knew their jobs, perfectly! Just like clockwork, the Father climbed up the tree, downed the large branches and the Mother would trim off the brush on the ground, and then cut the wood into wood burning stove sized pieces. The three kids would load the wheelbarrow (half full) and wheel it around back to our wood pile and unload them into a nice neat stack.

This went on until till around 4:00 pm or so and as the sun began to set, the night air was rolling down the Sierra’s slope, putting a chill in your bones. They still had about an hour’s work left to do but, the little girl had lost her stream and was sitting on the front porch as her older brothers, picked up the slack.

My Wife had just returned from shopping at the store and began wrapping gifts in our dining room and noticed the little girl sitting on the porch. So…she went outside and asked the girl’s Mother if she could invite the girl inside to have a hot cup of Coco. The mother said fine, and my Wife made some Hot Chocolate and the girl sat at the table with her in the dining room, taking sips while warming both her hands on the cup of Hot Chocolate.

GIRL’S QUESTION:Who are these presents for?”

MY WIFE’S ANSWER:Well… they are for two sisters that, are having a little trouble this Christmas, would you like to help me wrap their gifts.”

GIRL’S ANSWER:Yes…I would, how do you know them?

MY WIFE’S ANSWER:Well I’m one of Santa’s helpers and …I don’t really know them but, I know that they are twin sisters.”

GIRL’S QUESTION:How old are they?”

MY WIFE’S ANSWER:“They are six years old”

GIRL’S QUESTION:“I have two girl cousins and they are twins too.”

MY WIFE’S ANSWER:Really…well that’s very nice, how old are they?”

GIRL’S QUESTION:Same as me, 6-years old.”

Just about then, my Wife stopped what she was wrapping and looked intently into the little girl’s eyes and asked;

MY WIFE’S QUESTION:“What are your cousin’s names?””

GIRL’S REPLY: “Britney and Rebecca.”

As my Wife’s heart skipped a beat, she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She just couldn’t believe that in all the thousands of letters and all the tree trimmers canvassing neighborhoods that Christmas season that something…oh so incredible, could end up sitting on her door step.

As her mind attempted to discount what she was hearing, her brain wouldn’t rest in doing the math and arriving at the deduction that this, was virtually impossible!

How could this happen? How could she randomly select a group of letters, pass some on to friends and end up with this one, this connection, how?

As she stood up from the table where they were wrapping gifts, a rush fell over her body as she asked the little girl;

MY WIFE’S QUESTION:“Is your cousin’s Mommy’s name, Sally?”

GIRL’S REPLY:“Yes…do you know my Aunt Sally”

My Wife couldn’t believe what she was hearing. If this was true…she needed something more to either confirm this miracle, or eliminate the source of her mind thumping adrenaline rush.

She briskly went outside through the front door where the wife was picking up brush and asked;

MY WIFE’S QUESTION:“Hello…I was talking to your daughter inside and she said you have a Sister in-law named Sally?”

Having worked all day at manual labor the woman was noticeable tired, as she raised her head up and looking a little perplex, as to how and why my Wife would be discussing her Sister In-Law with her daughter, she answered;

MOTHER’S ANSWER:“Yea…I’ve got a Sister In-Law named Sally, why do you ask?”

MY WIFE’S QUESTION:“Does she also have two twin 6-year old girls named Britney and Rebecca”

Now having stood up completely erect, the woman was eye to eye staring directly into my Wife’s eyes and said;

MOTHER’S QUESTION:“Yea…she does but, what’s this about?”

The woman and her husband were people from a different cultural environment that didn’t warm up to people poking around their business or asking too many questions. They would come and do a job, take the cash and be on their way. So…these pointed questions caused the radar to go up!

Swirling around in the woman’s head were thoughts of suspicion about whom my Wife might be and why she was asking so many unrelated questions, which had nothing to do with the work that they had completed.

Hum…maybe this was going to be some kind of way that now that the work was completed, would be an excuse for not paying up! Maybe…these people living in this big warm house with all this wonderfully stacked firewood would now be renegotiating the value of the service provided. After all it had happened before and it was beginning to not look at all like Christmas, again!

MOTHER’S CALLING:“George, George…come over here.”

George was the husband and he was sharpening the power saw’s blade on the tailgate of his truck. When he heard his wife calling some 50-feet away, it was something in her tone that created alarm, from her beckoning. He responded by rapidly walking over to her and glared at my Wife, pronounced by a hard body language of defensive posturing.

GEORGE’S REPLY:“Yea..what’s up…what do you need?”

MOTHER’S COMMENT:“This lady’s’ asking some questions about your sister and her family.“

GEORGE’S REPLY:“Why”

MOTHER’S ANSWER:“I have no idea“

GEORGE’S QUESTION:“Why are you asking questions about my sister“

George’s stance was classic and standing some eight inches above my Wife in his lineman boots, at arm’s length, his posture gave him a sense of superiority and broadcasted a subtle threatening mannerism. His wife rallied right next to him and slightly to his left side (he was right handed) allowing him plenty of room to utilize his right hand, for taking any action he deemed necessary.

MY WIFE’S ANSWER:“Well George you probably aren’t going to believe this but,“

George’s steps back, expecting to hear a song and dance routine about a special discount, or some past relationship with his sister that could allow for a special consideration toward price reduction.

This guy and his family had just spent the whole day working their asses off and just wanted to get paid, without any crap about his sister.

MY WIFE’S REPLY:I went to the Downtown Post Office and got some Dear Santa Letters. Evidently…your nieces had written to Santa Claus and asked for some gifts for your Brother In-Law and your sister, beings that he was injured at work and she just lost her job. So…I responded as one of Santa’s Elf’s and bought some gifts for them so, that they could enjoy Christmas…

GEORGE’S REPLY:“Are you kidding me or something“

MOTHER’S REPLY:“George…that’s true, Britney and Rebecca told me they had written to Santa and this lady couldn’t have known anything about this“

The look on George’s face was priceless. He bent to his knees from the fleeting adrenaline rush and started shaking his head.

GEORGE’S REPLY:“How can this be, how could you know about any of this?“

MY WIFE’S REPLY:“I didn’t but, God did and he orchestrates all the love that the world has to offer, through our giving spirits.”

We paid George and his family for their service and loaded the gifts in his truck to deliver them to his sister’s family. This was one of our most memorable Christmas’s and I’ve shared this story many times with my friends, family and perfect strangers, when their spirits become disenchanted with a belief…that God exists.

This is a true story and I share it with you because I know that God spoke to us, on that day. I don’t need any other example for the rest of my life to sustain me, as providing me further proof and I’m most grateful for having experienced this most precious gift. So…if you truly listen and allow God to work through you, you will hear him too…Just try this Christmas or next, as things for so many are not going so well, to let God work his miracles through you…Make a difference to a total stranger this season, the rewards can last a lifetime…In the act of giving… you make God smile and his laughter is so infectious that it will forever fill your heart with his love!

May God Bless You and Your Family this Christmas,

Michael Chaffee

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Writing with the Veiled…