Archive | December, 2013

A Christmas Miracle

28 Dec

christmas treeThe story played out like a made for TV 2 hour Christmas movie. A family just making ends meet, gets home from grandma’s on Christmas eve and the little ones go to bed. Mom and Dad stay up, waiting for the kids to get to sleep before bringing in the presents from grandma’s and the other ones that mom had craftily hidden from prying eyes in the back. Several hours pass. After having only looked out on the van 15 minutes previous, Sara, the mom, goes out to bring in the presents.

The van is missing.

While on the phone with the police she posts to facebook that the van and the presents are gone. This was before 5am. Pretty soon, facebook is blowing up with sympathy. Someone has found a picture of the van and posted it so people can be on the lookout. Her husband reveals that the present he’s been wanting to get her for years but couldn’t ever quite pull off had, finally, been purchased. A Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Which was also in the van.

By early afternoon, the van was located (because the driver had smashed into something) and the police let them look in it quickly before it was towed. The presents were gone, the baby’s car seat was gone, Sara’s sewing machine was gone. The stand mixer was found! Our first miracle!

Offers for help poured in, including a car to borrow from a friend who was heading out of town for the holidays.

Her 2pm post said (in part):

“The van is totaled. I’m ok with that. We’ll figure that out later. [My son] and I will go shopping tomorrow for replacement Christmas presents and a new van. 

And seriously. We’re ok with that. This is a good Christmas. Off to the in-laws for celebrating and then I have many, many people to thank. Merry Christmas you guys.”

In the comments she shared the sentiment with others that if those presents went to help some kid who didn’t have a Christmas, then it was OK.

But it gets better. While they were at the other Grandma’s house, being grateful that they were safe and had each other, their friends were making things happen. The homeschool group they are a part of collected money so they could replace the presents. A woman who had upgraded her sewing machine offered her old one. And a family who had bought a new van and was keeping their old one ‘just in case’ offered up their used (but still better than the one that crashed) mini van.

Sara said it was too much. At this point her family is coming out ahead than where they were on Christmas eve.

I and others agreed, it’s not too much, to accept thankfully, to pay it forward, to live in the joy and grace shown these last few days.

I don’t know whether some wise men actually traveled to bring gifts to a baby 2000 years ago, but I can attest that the spirit of giving is alive in this community.

While Sara may be embarrassed by my saying this, (and I did get permission to write about her) she is the kind of person who you want to help when something happens. Not because she can’t help herself, she certainly can. But because she is a giver. She spends hours preparing gingerbread houses for all her friends and their kids to come decorate at Christmas time. She does the same at Halloween with sugar skulls. She jumps in and helps when people need it. While she probably like most of us has unkind things to say, she doesn’t paste them all over the internet. Instead she shares humorous stories of her adventures in life. Stories that make you laugh, that make you realize that we’re all in this thing called life together and that no one has it figured out but we’re all human and doing the best we can. She shows compassion for others and for herself. Oh and then there’s the rescue animals. Another of her beloved communities.

People ask, why do bad things happen to good people. But that’s not what this Christmas story is about. This is about a ‘bad’ thing being the catalyst for a great thing(s) to happen to good people. Before anything had been replaced, Sara decided to make the best of it. Her son, all of 9, after taking a few seconds to cry over the missing presents, was on to the much more important question of how is mom gonna get to work. He didn’t become that compassionate overnight.

Certainly it was all just ‘stuff’ in this story, people are harder to replace and finding the blessing in some stories is more difficult and lengthy. If you are experiencing that type of loss, my heart is with you. It’s not easy, and it will get better.

Now as the credits roll on our made for TV movie, we see a family getting in their new-to-them van. Heading out for many more adventures, always remembering to be kind and help when they can, and hoping we all remember that too.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night

PS As the director of the church Christmas play, I had the opportunity to cast either of Sara’s kids as Jesus. Rewinding to the reference of the wise men bringing gifts, I’m wondering if that wouldn’t have been fitting.