True meaning of Christmas (long)

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by teresab, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. teresab

    teresab Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,224
    Joined:
    May 25, 2005
    Location:
    Near Erie,Pa
    This was on a newsletter sent home from my son's school..... now this is how Christmas should be!



    ************************************************************
    It's just a small,white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification,no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

    It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas-not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it--overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma--gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

    Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike.

    The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be 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 that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team could not afford.
    Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids--all kids--and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse.

    That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting foods 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 Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeding years. For each Christmas I followed the tradition-one year sending a group of handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground 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, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

    As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. ~Anonymous
     
  2. Melissa

    Melissa member

    Messages:
    23,498
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Location:
    SE Ohio
    Wow, that brought tears to my eyes.
     

  3. roadless

    roadless Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,847
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Location:
    PA
    thanks.............I needed that.
     
  4. teresab

    teresab Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,224
    Joined:
    May 25, 2005
    Location:
    Near Erie,Pa
    It made me cry too Melissa when I read it and the first thing I thought is I need to share it with all of you. I think I'm going to make something like this a tradition in our family too...maybe we can't be as extravagant because of money situation but I can sure do something!!