As I look back on my most memorable Christmas’, the ones I remember are the most simplest ones.  The years that we have struggled and some dear “Angel” has come to our rescue.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times that has happened.

One year we started a family tradition of giving each brother a sister a tree ornament.  I remember the time and effort that was put into some of those.  My sister had handmade hers and they were beautiful. I cherished these ornaments.  I thought of each one of my brothers, sisters and in-laws as I would put those on the tree.  It became especially important to me after the death of my mother.  Family became the most important thing to me.

This particular year stands out to me as one of the most memorable.  We used to keep our tree and ornaments in our garage because we didn’t have enough room in the house.  As tradition, we always put up the tree on Thanksgiving or the day after.  I had my husband go out to the garage and bring out my box of beautiful ornaments.  When he came into the house the look on his face caused me alarm.  Our tree and ornaments had been invested with mice.  We live on a farm, so it is normal to have mice all over but for some particular reason this year was worse than previous years.

When I opened the boxes, I realized that nothing was salvageable.  My first response was tears.  All of the hard work that had gone into those ornaments from my family, plus all of the handmade ones my children had made for me came rushing to my memory so fast that it was overwhelming.  I was devastated.  They weren’t just ornaments, they were family memories.  After the tears passed, then came the thought of how are we going to have a tree this year.  My husband had been unemployed, his father had recently passed away and it had been a hard year financially.   We eventually found a small fake tree and decided that it was going to have to do.  We would just find something else for ornaments.

One night as we pulled into our home, I noticed a big box sitting on our back porch.  We all walked cautiously toward it not knowing why it was there and what was in it.  As I slowly opened the box, inside lay ornament after ornament.  No name, no nothing to identify the giver.  Tears filled my eyes as I looked at those ornaments.  No, they were not the handmade memories I had cried over a few days ago, but they were memories of the love I felt for this stranger who had helped make my kids Christmas a special one.

This was not the only time we have felt the love of our Father in Heaven through special people that we have in our lives.  Some we know, some we don’t.  The giving did not stop at that year.  One year we found a beautiful handmade quilt on our front porch.  No name, nothing to identify the giver only the two sets of footprints left in the snow; one big, one small.  I looked at those prints and thought to myself, someone is teaching a child the importance of giving service to another.  I have cherished that blanket ever since.  I know it had to have taken hours to make and I was overwhelmed that someone would spend that much time on a gift for us.  As we knelt in family prayer that night, we thanked our Heavenly Father for another “Angel” that was now part of our Christmas memories.

Another year of hardship, we found money taped to our front door.  A simple message of “Hope you have a merry Christmas” was all that was written on it.  As I look back on these moments, there is nothing I can do to pay these dear souls back.  We still don’t know who some of these acts of service have come from, but it instilled in us a greater desire to serve others.  So each year the “Rees” elves try to do something to make someone else’s Christmas one to remember.  We never tell who, what, where or when; that takes the fun out of it.  Today a complete stranger will hopefully feel the Spirit of Christmas from some “Angels” who are paying it forward and being the hands of a loving Father in Heaven who knows all.  He knows our sufferings and our joy and always places people in our  lives at the right time and the right place to ease that suffering.  This is going to be fun!

Merry Christmas and may you remember the blessings that you have this Christmas season and pay it forward.  This is what true happiness is all about!

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