Monday, December 14, 2009

May we all remember the true spirit of christmas!!

Merry Christmas!!!!














I cried when I read this. I think its pretty amazing and would love to start this kind of tradition in our house as well.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

THE SIMPLE WHITE ENVELOPE

It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas --oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- the overspending, the
frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma --the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't
think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The
inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended.

Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against another team
sponsored by an inner-city church.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and
sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without
headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't
acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse.

That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree,the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition
--one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas . It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and
our 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 toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost
Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the
tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing
around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

6 comments:

Katie The Lady said...

I don't remember where or when I first heard that story, but it is a great one and I have loved it since the first time.

I love your Christmas pictures! They are terrific!! I love the Christmas sweaters!!

Kirsten said...

I love that story! This is the first time I've read it. Very touching.

Allison said...

That is a great story! Thank you!

Amy said...

Love the Christmas photos! You have such a sweet family.

mikensi.jimmy said...

love your header pic! just stopping in.. it had been a while! i get behind on blogs now!

Kruger Family said...

Wow Aurie that story was amazing. Thanks for sharing it. Miss ya and just think that in less then 6 months and I am moving back to Vegas. WOOHOO