Christmas (according to the iphone)

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Our work with a local charitable organization came full circle on Christmas Eve when we went out with a volunteer Santa to deliver gifts to a number of families. During the afternoon, we went to a housing complex for (as I understand it) folks (moms) with HIV. I lost count, but we visited at least 20 families. When we first arrived, there wasn’t a single soul outside in the wickedly cold weather. But as soon as word spread of a Santa sighting, children swarmed. Squealing, wiggling, jumping, clapping, giddy children. (Tanner is the elf to the left) After they all got their hugs in with Santa, we had to send them to their apartments to await our visits. So much joy from the kids, so much gratitude from their moms. Our evening shift was a little different in that we went to individual houses to make our deliveries. While there was still a lot of joy to be spread, it was much more of an eye-opener. In the most extreme cases, we’re talking about a one bedroom apartment – or hotel room – with as many as eight people sharing the same cramped space. Some had no furniture, only blankets on the floor. While some on our route seemed to be in less financial crisis than what was just mentioned, all of our families had at least four or five children. And not one child went without gifts from Santa. It was pretty awesome.

By the way, the woman in charge of this organization has been bringing Christmas to families like these for 40 YEARS. Forty. That’s a four and a zero. She does this on a shoestring budget, relying completely on donations and volunteers. It would be a sure wager to say that she was first in line at after-Christmas sales this morning to start preparations for next year. Sainthood in this woman’s future, by chance?

Now, here’s a glance at our family’s Christmas, starting with Murphy’s favorite spot in the house…right under our tree.
This was after the kids and I got home late Christmas Eve.

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Christmas morning brought a road trip to Mom and Dad’s house for gifts, way too much food and the ever-overloaded tree.

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It was a full day, and some of us wiped out.

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While some of us with more energy really, really, REALLY enjoyed our gifts. You know those kids who play with a toy once and ignore it after that? My nephew is not one of those kids. His toys are loved and utilized to the fullest. It’s one of the reasons I love shopping for him.

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And just like that, Christmas is over and it’s back to work tomorrow. Wish it would’ve lasted just a little bit longer.

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