A Gift of Giving
Looking forward to Christmas 1995, to me, described a
paradox. How can one enjoy Christmas when their
loving spouse recently passed away from cancer, and
yet Christmas is a time for celebration...
I had a friend, recently divorced, who was going
through his first Christmas without his children that
he loved so dearly. I called my friend and invited
him over to my house for Christmas. He didn't seem
overly thrilled, but had nothing else to do. I did
the same for another divorced person who had a day
without family or friends. I told them to dress nice
but withheld my plans from them.
The three of us, at my house, made Christmas canes
from pipe cleaners, and after an hour I told my
friends to get in my van, as I had a surprise for them.
So off we went.
First stop, a nursing home, left few dry eyes. We
visited the ones who had no company, prayed with them
and left them little Christmas canes and some candy.
One lady, feeling really bad, asked us to pray for
her. So we prayed with our hands on her body, and we
felt a Power hard to describe.
Second stop, Presbyterian hospital...cancer wing.
First you need to understand how hospitals work with
the sick. If possible, patients are sent home for the
holidays. The ones remaining in the hospital live too
far, are too ill, or have no support from family or
friends. About 1/2 of the cancer wing was deserted.
We visited the staff and gave them candy and our
little Christmas canes, then we visited the dying and
ill. How can one describe being humbled? The
patients asked for our prayers. We visited with every
patient in the wing. We left the patients with a
smile. When we left the hospital, we had nothing else
left to give, but we received much. Our emotions were
drained, we were exhausted, in tears but felt elevated
to a 'high' impossible to describe. We all thought
"But for the grace of God'...
Last stop. We visited my wife's grave, decorated it,
placed candles and sang Silent Night. Our voices were
quivering because we found Christmas that day. We
gave all we had to give, and it cost us about five
hours of our time and about two dollars in pipe
cleaners and candy. I said a silent prayer of thanks
to my wife for teaching me to give.
May we, in this crazy but special time of year learn
from the Teacher of teachers, Giving IS better than
receiving. Merry Christmas to all, and a happy new
[ B.J. Cassady -- from 'Inspired Buffalo' (InspiredBuffalo@lighthouse.net) ]
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