I walked out of the office and remembered I had not yet selected ornaments from the Advent Giving Trees. As I walked around the trees with their tags identifying Christmas wishes for boys and girls, and moms and dads, I carefully selected two that I thought my girls might enjoy purchasing. It was hard to select only two with so many items to choose from, but I did. Then I walked around the trees one last time and a third ornament caught my eye. It was shaped like an angel and on it was a note, “Just because I’m not there doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about you all the time”. I felt a nudge, “take it”, and so I did.
Shortly after that I found myself basically quarantined. I was stuck in the basement with a bad cold. No one in my house wants to be near me and certainly no one at work wants me around. I did as much work as I could until I was just too tired to think, which basically took me to 3 p.m.—at which point, I confess, I turned on “Katie” on the TV. There was a piece on called “Katie’s Challenge for Change”. In this segment Cameron went to a non-profit in a mid-west city, asked them what they needed, and then in one day tried to fill their wish lists. The suspense was palpable.
He kept asking. He went into the downtown area searching for people who might say yes. He even went to a local college. “What is he thinking?” I thought to myself. I kept anxiously watching to see, would he do it? But then…he did it! He was successful in filling all the wish lists! He returned to the non-profit bringing with him what he had procured and telling them about the other things he was not able to cart along. Tears filled my eyes as I watched how delighted the adults who run the non-profit were to know all the children’s wishes had been fulfilled.
That’s when it hit me like a bat upside my head (God has a tendency to do that with me when I don’t listen well the first time!). These ornaments are so much more than the act of purchasing the gift or even the conversation that my family has around this annual tradition of blessing others. For the father on my ornament, it means his son will receive a gift from his Dad. For Cornerstones, it means a child will get something they wished for. So, this Christmas I have a new lens to look through, one that includes the parents who are not able to purchase the items their children wish for at Christmas and the organizations that make their wishes a reality.