Today the boys and I were part of the wonderful world of Santa’s Elfdome. Translation: we helped wrap packages for a program here in town that provides Christmas gifts to families who would otherwise not have much of a holiday. Not only do kids and their parents receive gifts, they are handed their gifts from the Big Claus himself — delivered right in their living rooms. Volunteers dress up as Santa and his elves…and make home deliveries on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It’s really the neatest project. More than 600 families will be touched this year by this organization’s generosity.
Although we were working in a warehouse, Christmas carols played cheerfully in the background, while cute Santa decorations covered every surface that wasn’t used as workspace. Santa suits patiently awaited the big show.
It’s hard to see, but these are assembled bags that are personalized for each family. Gift tags are printed out with the parents’ names and children’s names. No one will get a “boy gift” or a “girl gift.” They will get their gifts.
All of these efforts stem from the following philosophy:
And families needn’t have a permanent address for Santa to be able to find them. Santa will be making deliveries to homeless shelters as well.
Part of my job today was to type up and print out gift tags for the packages for the families at a homeless shelter. Dozens upon dozens of families…all headed up by single mothers. Some had children as young as one month old, some as old as 15 years. Some had one child, some had as many as four. As I typed out each name, I was overwhelmed with sadness and gratitude. I hurt for the mothers who question each day how they are going to provide the basics for their kids, let alone find the extra resources for Christmas gifts. I couldn’t help but take this personally. For many, many years, I have raised my boys by myself. We have lived – and continue to live – modestly, but we are blessed beyond measure. I don’t know why God has been so generous with us and not as much with others, but the question is close to the top of my “When I get a chance to ask God the unanswerable questions” list for later. Until that time for Q & A session arrives, I’m going to subscribe to Meister Eckhart’s philosophy: “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”