THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL

Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by danny3861, Dec 15, 2003.

  1. danny3861

    danny3861 New Member

    THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL

    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 10 years or so. It
    all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas---oh, not the true
    meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it overspending ...
    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 wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended;
    and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a
    team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black. 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.
    And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in
    his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't
    acknowledge defeat.

    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 --- and he knew them, having coached 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 the envelope on the tree, the note inside
    telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His
    smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in
    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 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 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 in the morning, it was joined by three
    more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an
    envelope on the tree for their dad.

    The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our
    grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation
    watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike's spirit, like
    the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

    May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the
    true Christmas spirit this year and always. God bless---pass this along
    to your friends and loved ones.

    -- Author Unknown
  2. Sunshyne1027

    Sunshyne1027 New Member

    What a beautiful, meaningful story. I got alot from it. It brought tears to my eyes.

    :)

    Sunshyne