sponsored by:   and 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Christmas Envelope
Send a link to a friend

[December 16, 2008]  -- One of my favorite Christmas stories is the story of a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of a Christmas tree.  It has peeked through the branches of the tree in that home for the past 15 years or so.

InsuranceIt all began because Mike hated Christmas—oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercialism and overspending; the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and bubble bath for Grandma; the gifts given in desperation because you could not think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, his wife decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth.  She reached for something special just for Mike.  The inspiration came in an unusual way.  Their young son Kevin was wrestling for the school he attended.  Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly African-American kids.  These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that the shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presenting a sharp contrast to Kevin’s team in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, Kevin’s folks were alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears.  It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.  Well, the better-equipped team ended up walloping their poorer opponents in every weight class.

Mike shook his head sadly and said to his wife, “I wish just one of them could have won.  Losing like this could take the heart right out of them.”

Mike loved kids – all kids.  He had coached just about every sport for kids.  That is when the idea for his present came.  That afternoon, Mike’s wife went to the local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.

[to top of second column]

Nursing Homes

On Christmas Eve, she placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what had been done and that this was his gift from her.  First there were tears.  Then the biggest smile Mike had ever worn.  Every year at Christmas Mike’s wife followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a family whose home had burned to the ground, and on and on.  The envelope became the highlight of their Christmas.  It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and the 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 envelope never lost its allure.  But there’s still more to the story.
You see, they lost Mike a couple of years ago – cancer.  When Christmas rolled around, his wife was still so wrapped in grief that she barely got the tree up.  But Christmas Eve found her placing on envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.  Each of their sons, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.  The tradition has grown as now grandchildren with wide-eyed anticipation watch as their fathers take down the envelope.

“This is pure undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)

[Text from file received by Ron Otto, Lincoln Christian Church]



< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor