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It’s Christmas Eve. Friends and families are gathering, waiting for Jolly Old Saint Nick. Kids and bigger kids ever so eager to open their gifts.

Tonight parents and grandparents are wrapping gifts and welcoming visitors, trying to settle everyone for this holiday. It’s truly a gorgeous celebration that brings out the best in us.

Tonight reveling in the delight of a small Christmas miracle I’m thinking of the Christmas’ past in my life.

I have been feeling the dull ache of the season as a single person. No longer hollow, but still lonely. The kind of lonely that only other people divorced after a decade of togetherness will understand.

Christmas was Danny’s holiday.

We would spend the day with his family. Since age 20 I’ve spent few holidays with my family always content to keep with his family traditions. It was while blaring Shinedown driving way too fast home trying to drown out the ache that I made this realization. I burst into tears and was thankful no one could see me.

The terrible thing about this gorgeous holiday is that it brings back the pain that you thought was gone. The ache the loneliness. The anger. And you don’t know if you’re angry at the person or yourself.

Of all the times all year long that you just do your routine and think little of the other person who used to help manage your life this is the time of the year for the painful reminder of them missing. It really doesn’t matter what the reality was like at the time our minds fix it and we romanticize the past…we wonder what could have been if they had been a little more flexible or if you had been more tolerant. You daydream and convince yourself that just maybe…

But it’s not real. It will never be real so we cling to reality. The reality of the situation is all that matters.

My reality is that for all the promise the past held it got shattered, but it left me with the two brightest beacons of hope…my sons. I do not get to do things perfectly for them even if I would like to, the job that I work too much at for too little keeps the bills paid, but severely lacking in the gift giving ability department.

This Christmas I thought I had it figured out, but still came up short. While out for gifts I had gone up and down the aisles picking things out, hoping, praying I could get them everything they wanted. I know I can’t get them everything, but I can adjust their lists to fit my meager budget. By the time I left I had a few items that I had to leave behind.

There was no way I could afford them and God knows that I’m not going to spend every penny I have on Christmas.

Christmas is – in my religious tradition – about God…a celebration of the eternal, a celebration of birth and life and giving…but not of gifting. Give in ways large or small, but that is very different from gifting.

Anyway, I left it to God.

He replied…

When I came home this evening (after crying my eyes out in the car) I walked in the house and my babysitter had a surprise. Someone – I don’t know her name, but she works for Joshua Tree – had given the boys gifts.

Even now as I type it I have tears, because it’s all the things that I had looked at but couldn’t afford to buy.

Everything.

It seems that God guided the hand of a perfect stranger.

For as sad as I felt in the car before I arrived home, from loneliness and pain, I felt awed. I have no other word for it, but awe. I’m encouraged and blessed beyond words at this person’s kindness and I wish I could express how eternally grateful I feel.

There are so many things I could say, but they just seem lacking.

However I needed to share this with you all to perhaps give you a whisper of prayers answered. It’s a strange thing God’s been doing so openly lately in so many areas of my life. I just had to share.

From me and my family to yours I’d like to wish you a very blessed and Merry Christmas!!

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