Let Me Be A Blessing To Others ... As Santa
By Patti Everroad • December 23, 2019
Right before Thanksgiving of 2019 I put on Facebook this message .. "Lord please make me a blessing to others as Santa".
A week later as we were preparing for this year's Santa visits with my Mrs. Claus basket that I carry with candy, pencils and candy canes, when I discovered some letters that I thought was from kids. Every Christmas children will bring us letters to Santa and usually we go through every one after the season, but this time we came upon a letter that was still sealed in an envelope. It was a letter to Santa from a young mother named Mary, who was ill and was asking if there was a Santa and if miracles do happen that her young children would have a good Christmas because she was told by doctors that it could be her last. You see, she has kidney problems and she was asking not for herself, but for her children to have good memories with their mommy this year.
We don't know what year that was when we got the letter, where we got the letter or any details of it, but in it was her name, phone number and address. How, why, and where had this letter been we questioned.
Just one week before finding this letter I had prayed to God to make me a blessing to others and all of a sudden here's a letter. God said in Matthew 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer." I believe my prayer was answered in the form of finding this letter when I prayed ‘make me a blessing'. Mary said in her letter that she believed in Christmas miracles and was asking for one to be made for her family. Santa and I resolved to fulfill Mary's wishes as requested, even though it was late, and we would try to answer her prayers.
So, I began to try to make contact with Mary, but I had no luck in getting someone to answer the phone; and I tried at least three times that week. This was now four weeks before Christmas. I decided to drive to the local police station to see if they could help me find out if this family is still in need and on my drive there I was praying and decided that one more time I would try to make a call. So I stopped my car along the road and made one more attempt, and this time a woman answered the phone. I discovered that it was Mary's mother. She first said that no one lived there by the name of Mary. I had two choices 1) to thank her and hang up or 2) keep trying. I decided to proceed and explained that I was Mrs. Claus and that we had found a letter written to Santa by Mary at this telephone number, explaining the desire to help her kids. She was in shock because the letter, we found out, was written two years before my discovery and Mary was currently in the hospital and now has six children, the last one born the day before I spoke with her mother. The baby had been born the day before and was 3 months premature and only weighed two pounds at birth.
The mother started sniffling as we continued talking. She said she was on the way to the hospital, 50 miles away to see Mary and her new grandbaby and would talk to Mary about my call. She said she would help Mary call me back and we would talk more. The next day, as promised, I received a phone call from Mary. She couldn't believe the letter was written so long ago and was just found. I told her it must have been a God-thing that this happened. We talked about her new baby and her other children. She gave me their names, ages, and a little about them. I told her that we wanted to fulfill her wishes and make her dream come true this Christmas to help her family. She cried and I did too as we spoke.
Her mother and I stayed in contact with each other for the next three weeks, especially about the progress/health of both Mary and her baby. In the meantime, I began to get the ball rolling to make this Christmas wish come true. First of all, I contacted our two daughters and asked if our family would like to help their family for Christmas. They said yes. I have five grandchildren and they wanted to help Mary's children as well. Mdaughters and we go to different churches, so we all shared about this situation in our respective Sunday School classes.
In our church I shared in my Sunday School class about the situation and read the letter outload. Many were in tears as I read, and I barely got through reading it again. I initially asked that they please pray for this family. Our Sunday School class voted, then and there, to give them $1000 to help provide for needs of the family. I was in awe at their generosity.
I found out my daughters did something similar in her women's group at her church and they started the process to meet needs. When talking with my grandchildren, they wanted to go shopping for these kids so names were put in envelopes, drawn by them so they knew who they would be shopping for. Then we selected a shopping day. My grandchildren are 9, 12, and 14. They thoughtfully selected gifts that they thought these children would like. They selected wrapping paper as well and spent time wrapping all their gifts. We had the opportunity to talk about all they have and about the many children in the world and in their schools who don't even have basic needs that are being met. I firmly believe that this has made a lasting impact on their minds about what it means to give to others. In the car, going and coming home we talked about what it means to serve others, to be a missionary, to take Christ's love and share it with others. In John 13:34 Jesus taught, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." I had the opportunity to talk about being a servant to others. Being a servant leader means putting the interests of others above your own. What a message that will/should follow us through life.
One week before arrangements had been made to make delivery of the things people offered to this family, I saw a Facebook message from someone local in our community that said his family had three hams and he wanted to give two away to families in need. I responded to him about this family and he said he wanted to donate one. The day before delivery I met him in town and discovered he was a 24-year-old man --- so young yet so giving. I thanked him for the offer of this food.
Then one last call to the grandmother to make specific time arrangements and on Sunday afternoon after Church, Santa, myself, two daughters, grandkids and a young couple from our daughter's church helped with bags of food, ham, potatoes, gift card donations for food, clothing, gas and toy donated from a local fire station, two cars in tow made the trek to this families' house. We discovered their home is a 1958 single wide mobile home with a brick for a front step, windows covered in tape, floors sagging and very small yet we noticed lots of love in that home. Grandma is keeping the older kids, and an aunt is keeping Mary's younger children, but all were there waiting on us when we arrived with lots of stuff for them. We sat down and talked with each child, gave out lots of hugs and candy.
When we spoke with grandma about how Mary and baby are doing, she said that Mary will never get better but that she would be so happy to know her kids would have a good Christmas this year. The baby has had to be resuscitated three times and now weighs 2 pounds and 2 ounces but is hanging on. Grandma kept saying "I can't wait for Mary to know about all of this."
As we left all the kids, stood at the door smiling and waving. Although the home had floors that sagged and not much place to sit, we wondered what kind of sleeping arrangements they had because it was so small; they had no dining room table, but lots of pictures colored and taped to the walls. Somehow we knew that love was in that home. They didn't have much, but they did have love and family within the walls. We could tell the kids were being cared for the best of what grandma could do.
My daughter ended up knowing the grandpa of these kids and she said he was a hard-working man that would never ask for a thing. He texted her about an hour after we left and said ‘thank you' from the bottom of his heart for what we did for his family.
The friends from our daughter's church that just came along for the ride, contacted my daughter later that evening and said if Santa and Mrs. Claus had future opportunities to do something for a family in need next year, count them in, because they wanted to be a part of it. This was a young couple that had a first-hand opportunity to see what they were blessed with by having so much, yet could be blessed so much more but giving to those who didn't have much at all.
This is what Christmas is about.
We often see giving trees at Christmas where we select a tag off a tree, buy someone a gift, return it to whoever put the tree up, but never see who gets the gift or ever see the result of our giving. One of the best ways to teach generosity is by starting with your own little family. Finding this letter has made an impact in our lives. Many came bearing gifts for this family, but the end result of it all is the true meaning of Christmas, what Christmas should be about. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.. " I'd like to share a poem I discovered about Christmas giving, Thank you to Iris Bray for writing about Christmas giving …
By Iris W. Bray
Christmas is for giving
And for showing that we care,
For honoring the Christ Child
With the loving gifts we share
The wise men gave of riches;
The shepherds, faith and love.
Each gift, in its own measure,
Was smiled on from above.
Let every gift be treasured;
Not always size or price
Determines the extent of love
And willing sacrifice.
Handsome gifts with festive trim
Brings smiles of sweet content,
But modest gifts of humble means
Are ofttimes heaven sent.
Whether it be large or small
Each gift will share in part
The message of true Christmas joy
If given from the heart!
The last part is the message of Christmas. True Christmas joy is about giving from the heart.
Thomas S. Monson wrote and I believe this is true …
"Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values." Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate the love of God and family and to create memories that will last forever.
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