A Christmas Memory

By Joseph J. Mazzella • December 17, 2013

"Christmas is no fun when you're poor", I thought to myself as I slowly climbed the steps to my cold, damp apartment. I was a young, struggling, substitute teacher whose calls into work had been few and far between. Money was tight, bills were due, and it was Christmastime. My wife and I couldn't even afford to get gifts for each other and the only gifts we could get for our young daughter and son were a few stuffed animals that I had found on sale.

I opened the door to the apartment and brought in the gifts I had hidden in our old car's trunk until Christmas. Then I handed them to my 4 year old son and 18 month old daughter. I watched with a sad smile while they did their best to tear off the wrapping paper. As they pulled out their toys, though, I noticed their own smiles grow wide. Their eyes lit up and they jumped up and down with glee. My daughter happily hugged her stuffed animal and then hugged her Mom and me as well. I laughed as I watched my children play with their stuffed animals for hours that day, and I thanked God for the greater gift they had given me.

It has been over twenty years now but I still remember that Christmas like it was yesterday. It was one of those special days that stays in your heart and soul forever. It was one of those special moments that helps to shape the rest of your life. I still cherish the gift of pure love that my son and daughter gave me that day. I still strive to share it in my own life as well.

The great inspirational author Leo Buscaglia once wrote that: "There is no lesser or greater gift if the gift is love." In truth, the most priceless gift of all time was a gift of love from God given to us as a poor baby warmed in the hay of a manger. It was a gift that changed the world forever. It was a gift that showed us all how to live and how to love. May your every Christmas be rich in love and may all your days be full of goodness and joy.

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