Christmastime always makes me remember the people and acts of kindness for which I have heartfelt gratitude. Private thank-you notes have been sent, but sometimes that’s just not enough to say how much I appreciate what’s been done. Public recognition is required.
One such act happened to me and my wife several Christmases ago.
We were returning home from Christmas shopping in the bigger city. As young, married students finishing college, we were living on a budget. I remember feeling disappointed 10 minutes into the 30-minute drive home to our rural apartment that we had spent too much money on gifts. That feeling would quickly be replaced.
The lights on the dashboard of our 1994 Pontiac Grand Am were getting dimmer fast and then finally went out. So did the power steering as I tried to stiff-arm the steering wheel and keep the car on the icy roads. The car coasted far enough to reach a gas station leading onto the nearest state highway.
The pay phone there was not in operation, so I went inside to ask the cashier if I could use his. While explaining to the cashier my plight, the man whom I had waited for lingered, collecting his recently purchased snacks. Before the cashier could respond to my request for a free phone call, the man with goodies asked which direction I was headed. “North,” I said. “I’m going that way,” he replied, offering me and my wife a ride in his silver Dodge pickup truck.
We transferred our gifts from our trunk to the club cab of his pickup, with my wife behind the seat to ride with them. The man asked if I had a way to get the car to a repair shop. I didn’t. He then searched his cell phone and offered me the name of a towing company he’d used many times before.
My charitable do-gooder delivered me, my young bride and our pile of gifts safely to our apartment. I later learned that the man was one of the area’s more prominent gas station chain and petroleum company owners. He had much but gave freely.
The story was even more miraculous. The bill to fix the alternator in the car was more than $400, the equivalent of two months of food or several textbooks for the next semester to me and my wife. We paid the bill with credit – the first significant debt we had put on a charge card. But before Christmas arrived, we received a card in the mail with a check for nearly the entire amount of the repair bill from one of my remote cousins. The card with the check said simply, “Felt like you might be in need of this. Merry Christmas!”
It’s one of a few Christmas miracles I’ve been blessed to experience. I’m confident that every Christmas can be miraculous – no matter if you’re the one receiving the miracle or giving it.
In this issue, we feature a group of hoof trimmers giving back to a dairyman who had already experienced a miracle of his own and a dairy woman and artist who offers her family’s barn as the meeting place to worship the most miracle-filled event in the history of the world – the birth of Jesus. Also, read about the Christian acts of a New Mexico dairy producer working with orphans in Mexico.
I hope this Christmas season is extraordinary for you and your loved ones. And don’t let Christmas Eve pass without looking for a chance to make it so for someone else. PD