Friday, December 7, 2012

Faithful Friday - "For the Man Who Hated Christmas""

While we enjoy all the fun aspects of Christmas and the excitement of the season, we try to keep our focus on the true meaning of Christmas by not letting these other things take center stage.


On that note, (for Faithful Friday), I want to share with you an inspirational story that brought tears to my eyes, because we need to remember that the tradition of gift giving during this Christmas season comes from that first gift given to us by God on that first Christmas when baby Jesus was born in that manger in Bethlehem. And this type of giving is what it’s all about.


For the Man Who Hated Christmas

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it – overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma – the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids – all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.

Mike's smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children – ignoring their new toys – would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.
 
Source: (Author) Nancy W. Gavin
 
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thanks for stopping by for Faithful Friday. You can link up if you’d like to participate on Joy’s blog (Doodlebug) here.
 
I’ll be back tomorrow with the first of a series of Christmas décor photos of our home (our living room and foyer).   :)

♥ Tammy ♥ 

10 comments:

Beth said...

A wonderful story! Thank you for sharing.

Primitive Stars said...

Hi Tammy, touching story, thankful you shared with us......Blessings Francine.

cucki said...

a very wonderful story..
thank you for sharing.
love xx

Paula said...

Beautiful story, Tammy... now I've cried all my makeup off! :)

bettyj said...

Well, its raining on my face!

Never So Simple said...

What a wonderful story it brought tears to my eyes. It warmed my heart.

Donna

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

Aw that made me get a lump in my throat. I just adore Christmas.

Simply Shelley said...

Wonderful story...thanks so much for sharing it...Christmas blessings to you and yours dear friend.

Debbie said...

Oh this wonderful story brought tears to my eyes....thanks for sharing it! enjoy your week-end!

Joy ~ Doodlebug ~ said...

Mama,

Oh, this is so sweet! Love this. What a great tradition! Thank you for participating!

Love you! 8!

Love,
Joy :)