The night before we left for the Texas Tour 2009, we were cooking dinner when we heard a knock on the door. We weren't expecting anyone so we didn't exactly sprint over to see who was there. When I did finally make it to the door, wiping spaghetti sauce off my hands, I found no one at the door, but instead a beautiful Christmas bag.
Bewildered, I carried inside to show Matt and not to be one to hesitate when opening presents, I immediately tore into it. I didn't see a card which was confusing to me --- but inside I found a large plastic jar brimming with dollar bills and coins...and a book called "The Christmas Jar".
Ever more confused, I started flipping through the book trying to find some indication of what the gift was about and who may have given to us. After skimming the intro and then the back pages (a cardinal sin to someone like me who is a HUGE reader), I discovered the purpose and meaning of the jar.
Someone (and we'll probably never know who) had collected change all year long and then prayed about who should anonymously receive the jar --- and that was us.
At first I was confused. I looked over at our Christmas tree which had a group of presents underneath ready for family and friends.
And then we realized.
For Matt's parents.
If you've read this blog for awhile, you may know that both of his parents were diagnosed with cancer within the last 2 months. Couple that with some other financial hardships in their lives, and well..it's been a tough year to say the least.
We fully believe this jar was intended for them and we were able to give it to them this past week along with a copy of the book "The Christmas Jar". The coolest thing is that his mom is now carrying the book around in her purse and has shared with all of her friends what it was all about - and has probably inspired many others to start Christmas Jars of their own.
Sometimes I am just blown away by people. Just when you think this world may be going off the deep end with people becoming more callous and bitter every day, God just up and reminds you that His Love is shining through ordinary people -and they're doing extraordinary things.
I wish I knew who gave us the jar - but I'm not sure a simple "thank you" would be enough. The money is wonderful obviously and will be incredibly helpful for Barbara and David - but more than that, it was a jar of Hope to us - and a reminder of all things good.
This year, as everyone makes their New Year's Resolutions and pledges to do all sorts of things for ourselves - exercise more, eat less, or quit smoking - why don't we do something to help others? Visit www.christmasjars.com and learn how you can be a blessing in another person's life next Christmas. Maybe dust off that empty mason jar or clean out that old coffee can, and start throwing in your extra change. We can all be lights of Hope next year.
Have a blessed and safe New Year,