This year Justin and I decided to do something different for Christmas. Convicted by our own materialism, and full of the knowledge that we have been blessed beyond measure by others generosity to us, in lieu of giving to one another, we decided to find another family and give to them. Now, before you start believing a lie that we are unselfish people, let me take a moment and dispel that myth.
It was love at first sight. The moment I spotted it, I knew it would look awesome on me. I envisioned myself in this coveted fur vest, and determined then and there that I would start heavily hinting to Justin about it. Over the last few months, I would wait for the appropriate moment and start dropping my hints. It sounded something like this. “So, when I was Marshall’s the other day, I saw the COOLEST fur vest.” Each time I mentioned it, he would set his face, in what I assumed was deep concentration, and say, “Fur, huh?” I was unconcerned that he was only getting one word of the equation, after being married for 12 years, I learned long ago to start my coaching well in advance. Each time I would go into Marshall’s, I would take note of the details, and drop more specifics for my sweetheart. However, I noticed an alarming pattern was developing. His response was always the same, “Fur, huh?” So I began to respond with even more elaborations that went something like this, “Yes, and it has blue, almost feather looking fur, with a zipper that zips up the front (as if it would zip anywhere else in a vest, but I wasn’t taking any chances).” Same response. As Christmas drew nearer, I began to panic. I swear the only word he was hearing was fur. This could end badly for me. Rather than my awesome fur vest, that I knew I would rock out, I could very well end up with a fur hat that looked like Davy Crockett. And girls, you know if there is any hope of ever getting another gift, I would HAVE to wear the thing! My glorious images of me on girl’s night in my awesome vest began to change to horrifying images of me wearing a Davy Crockett hat. It was then that I knew it would take the Star of David and quite possibly a heavenly choir to lead the man to the correct aisle and vest in Marshall’s. And so friends, you see, my decision to forgo Christmas gifts was hardly heroic or unselfish, but it was, absolutely, the best Christmas ever.
And so it came to be that our Christmas gifts this year are under the tree in a small room of a terminally ill 14-year-old girl in the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. We had felt the Lord tugging at our heart to give to others, but we weren’t sure who. We tossed around some ideas, all good, but none seemed the right fit. And then, seemingly by chance, I met her. We were waiting for breakfast to be served, and her parents were asking about Lyddie girl. With tear filled eyes they listened as I shared bits and pieces of our story. Then, in broken English, they told me theirs. They are from Puerto Rico, and are here for several months. They showed pictures of their ‘baby’ with a shaved head full of staples. The tumor wrapped itself around her optic nerve and she lost complete vision in one of her eyes.
She came over and was trying to cheer me up about Lydia, by telling me that she lost her vision as well. In an attempt at bravery for both of us, I decided to list all of the awesome amazing blind people I knew of. I think I came up with a couple, and she mentioned some singer from her country. I did not know his name, but she insisted I would know his song, and proceeded in the middle of the dining hall to burst into “Feliz Navidad”. I didn’t want her to have to sing by herself, so I attempted to join in and proceeded to absolutely butcher every single Spanish word in the song. And then, there I was, in the middle of a moment I didn’t know how I would ever smile again, LAUGHING. I knew then, at that moment, that God was pointing to her, and to her sweet family. This was the family we could give to. She is special this one.
It was with great gusto that I threw myself back into the mind of a 14-year-old girl. Body glitter, lotions, gaudy jewelry, big purse, games, and sweets were purchased with delight. I giggled the whole time Justin and I and the boys wrapped the gifts. All of us got into the excitement. By far the best gift ever, was watching their faces when we delivered them. It’s not Christmas yet, so we insisted they wait to open the packages. My little friend was very literally dancing in delight. Hugs and kisses were given and lots of pictures were taken.
Sometimes there are days when I want to ask the Lord why He allows things like diseases to ravage and ruin the bodies of these little children. And then there are days like today, when I want to ask Him, why He would be so good to allow me to be a part of such beauty. A few days ago, I didn’t know this family existed, and now, I was spending the most beautiful Christmas with the most beautiful family. Oh, HE has blessed me.
After hugs and thanks were given, my little friend burst into “Feliz Navidad”. If I concentrate, I can still hear her, so full of life, singing the chorus. “I want to wish you a Merry Christmas!”…