Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Christmas Story

Thanks to my long time friend Lynnette for sending this to me this morning.....

It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name.....

no identification, no inscription. It has peek through the branches of our Christmas tree 
for the last ten years or so. It all began because my husband Henry hated Christmas, not 
the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it, overspending, the frantic 
running around at the last minute for a tie for uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Granny. 
The gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else. 

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to by-pass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties 
and so forth. I reached for something just for Henry. The inspiration came in an unusual 
way. Our son, Kevin, who was twelve that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the 
school he attended Shortly before Christmas, there was a match scheduled against a team 
sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly Black young boys. These youngsters dressed in 
sneakers so ragged that the shoestrings were 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 the other team was wrestling without headgear, a 
light helmet to protect the head and ears. It was a luxury the rag-tag team just could not 
afford! We ended up walloping the team, took every weight class. As each of the boys got up 
off the mat, he swaggered in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that 
couldn't acknowledge defeat. Henry, seated beside me, shook his head sadly. ' I wish just 
one of them could of won. They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the 
heart right out of them.' 

Henry loved kids. All kids, and he knew  them, having coached little league, football, baseball 
and lacrosse. That is when the idea for the present came. That afternoon, I went to the 
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 Henry what I had done, and that it was his gift from me. His 
smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and the succeeding years since. 

For each Christmas I have followed that tradition. One year sending a group of mentally 
handicapped to a hockey game, another year sending a check to a pair of elderly brothers 
whose home burnt down 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 and such, would stand wide eyed in anticipation as 
their dad would reach for the envelope and reveal it's contents. 

 As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical gifts, but the envelope never lost 
its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Henry last year. When Christmas rolled 
around, I was still wrapped up in grief, I barely got the tree up. But there I was on Christmas 
eve placing that envelope. When I came down in the morning my envelope had been joined by three 
others! Each of our children, unbeknownst to me and the others, had placed an envelope on the 
tree for their dad. 
The tradition has grown, and will someday expand even further with our grand children standing 
around their tree in anticipation as their fathers take down the envelope. Henry's spirit, 
like 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, and pass this 
on to your friends and loved ones........................... 

Hope you enjoyed this story. 


justplainbill said...

Thanks Linda, great story. Brought a lot of tears to this old man, Bill

ally123130585918 said...

Thanks Linda Beautiful story ~ Ally x

jeadie05 said...

I most certainly did enjoy that Linda, I read it with a lump in my throat ..love Jan xx

rbrown6172 said...

this is a beautiful story.  thanks for sharing.

cayasm said...

Really lovely story that brings the Christmas spirit alive. thanks for sharing


treesrgreen78 said...

This story is simply beautiful thank you for sharing it.

hugsdoodlewacky said...

((((((((((((((((((((LINDA))))))))))))))))))))))Beatiful story.have a nice evening.

fasttrack58 said...

That is a great story!!!
Linda :)

mariealicejoan said...

Loved this.  Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

wwfbison said...

This is such a wonderful story, and the REAL meaning of Christmas.  Thank you for sharing this.

jvbutterfly said...

What a beautiful story....June:)