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Saturday, December 25, 2010

This is what Christmastime means to me..........

Jan 1, 2011: I'm Linking this to
 The Lettered Cottage's A few of My Favorites: Blog Posts 2010

(This is a repost from last year, but since I was very new at that time, I'm posting it again for the holidays.)

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it seems it's ever so easy to lose site of the true reason for the season. The reason there is a Christmas at all. I was going to talk about how frustrated I am that Christmas has become more of a commercial holiday than a spiritual one, how it seems to have become all about getting everybody what they've asked for, and less about why we celebrate the holiday to start with, how when I talk about it I must be politically correct in my choice of words in hopes that I do not offend anyone. But, I won't go into that today.
Today, I want to tell you what Christmas means to me, and my euphoric fantasies of how I hope that one day - some day, any day - that our hearts will finally become satisfied in merely giving value to the understanding of the miracle that is the purpose behind such a special day.
I have had many miracles in my life, and I am so very thankful. I believe in God and I am not afraid to admit it or wear it on my sleeve. He reveals himself to me in my everyday life on so many occasions. His miracles are distributed daily, but many people only recognize them during the Christmas season, because that is when they've been taught to ask for them or look for them. Me? I guess I'm one of the lucky ones because I am able to recognize his movement in my life regularly.

Christmas for me? It's not about gift giving, it's not about the parties, it's not entirely about family. For me, it's about the miracle of Christ, and what he means in my life. It's about a feeling and an appreciation, not about 'things'. It's about knowing that when I miss someone I've lost, that God will let me feel them with me, or send me a memory. It's about knowing that when someone is hurting or in need, that God will give me the ability to extend a hand of provision to that person. It's about knowing that when I myself am in need, that He will make a way. It's about believing that when you pray, there is someone listening, and caring, about even the smallest of things. It's about being able to recognize that you CAN and DO make a difference in other people's lives. It's about knowing that when I ask for a blessing in someone's life, having the assurance that it will be given. It's about the giddiness I feel when I can give to someone without their knowing it. And it's about knowing that God cares enough about me to put people in my path that enrich my life and cause me to be a better person.
I would much rather give than receive during this time, or any time for that matter. I've been blessed in my life, and I've also been broken. I've discovered that it doesn't matter where you are in your life, you still have the ability to be a blessing in someone else's. There have been many times in my own life when I've felt the push to do something for the benefit of someone else that I may not even know. All I know is that doing good makes me feel good. I believe that God has put people in my path to test my willingness to be a servant. I can only hope that I have done what was expected of me.
Let me tell you of what I think are a few of these instances where I was being tested.

One time, me and a friend were driving in downtown Denver. On the sidewalk there was a large man with an oxygen tank who had a handmade sign strapped to the front and back of his body. The sign said "My wife and I are disabled and desperate to keep our home. We need $386 tomorrow or we will have to move into a shelter. Please, can you help?" We sat there at the light, both reading this man's sign.

 Now let me tell you, in a big city like Denver there is someone on every corner asking for money. I usually avoid them, and so does my friend, but for some reason we both felt like we HAD to help this man. As the light turned, I pulled all of the bills out of my wallet, gave them to my friend and told her to run and give him whatever I had. She grabbed her purse and jumped out of the car while I pulled up to park along the street and wait for her. In my mirror, I could see her getting money from her own purse, and they were talking and he hugged her.She ran back to get in the car. She said "Polly, you're not going to believe this. Guess how much we had between us? $400!".

Did it hurt to give away that much money? Sure, but only for a little while. Turns out he had to use what money he had for a new medicine for his wife and wasn't able to pay his rent.

I thought about that man and prayed for his family several times through the night.That wasn't MY miracle, it was the man's on the street, but God used us an instrument to make his miracle happen.
The next day, I closed one of the biggest jobs of my career, one that I thought had gone by the wayside many months back. Who do you think orchestrated that?
Another time was very similar. I was at an intersection and there was an amputee in a wheelchair with a sign that said "Hungry and broke. Please help." I thought I'd test him to see if he'd really accept the food without asking for money. I had just come from a drive thru and still had not opened the bag. As I pulled up to him, I rolled down my window and told him I had a hamburger combo if he wanted it. He said he hadn't eaten since the day before and he'd love it. I handed him the bag and the coke and drove away.

As I got to the next red light, I saw him in my rear view mirror raising his hands in the air and bouncing in his wheelchair like he was signing praises to someone. I thought, boy, he must have really been hungry.

A while later, I was at a store in the line to pay for my purchases. I went to get my cash, and then I realized it...........I had given a $100 bill at the drive-thru so I could get change, and they put my change in the bag! The bag that I had not opened before I so willing gave away my food. No wonder that guy was so happy.

A few days later I saw that same guy somewhere else. I rolled down my window to say something, and before I could, he instantly recognized me and thanked me profusely. I could tell he was genuine in his appreciation, so I said nothing except to wish him a good day. I can only hope he used the money wisely.
Yet another time, someone very close to me was struggling at Christmastime, and she couldn't afford to buy anything for anybody, even cards. I wanted to help her but she wouldn't accept it. After praying for some relief for her, all of a sudden I just knew what to do. My husband and I ran all over town buying up gifts cards for various places, and several of those food type gift sets that are in all the stores this time of year, and a gift sets of pretty cards. We bought a wicker laundry basket and loaded it up. We shrink wrapped it, wrapped a bow around it and plotted our delivery.

We parked down the road from her house late at night and waited for all of the lights to go out. Once everything was dark, I sneeked up in the yard and placed the basket on the door. I put an ornament in the basket that opens up, and I requested that in trade for the basket, I wanted her and her son to each write on a slip of paper something they were thankful for that year and place it in the ornament. I typed out a note explaining to her that they should open that ornament each year and read their previous entires, and add to them.

She immediately called me the next morning to tell me she could not accept the basket. I played dumb and swore I had no idea what she was talking about. I asked her to tell me about it and what was in it. She started to tell me and I pretended to get excited about it. She asked who I thought might have done it and I told her that if God had put it in someone's heart to help her out, she shouldn't question his choices, and should just make good use of what he prompted someone to give her.

Turns out, she used the gift cards to purchase things for other people for gifts, she gave away a few of the food sets, and saved the popcorn and cocoa sets to share with her son while they watched Christmas movies at night.

She often talked about that Christmas and how it was the best one she ever had, and that it proved to her that God indeed answered prayers. For several years, she would share with me all of the things she and her son had written on their paper slips and put in their ornament. She never knew who gave her that basket, and never questioned it again. She has passed on now, and I feel sure she smiled down on me when she realized it on the other side.
I could tell you stories like this for days, but I'll share one last one with you before I end this post.

I was fairly new to a certain church years ago, and had only barely gotten to know some of it's members. There was one in particular that I had grown fond of, whose signing stirred something in my soul that was unfamiliar to me. You could feel the power of his words and his voice in everything he sang.

There was one time I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about him. I felt like I needed to get out of bed, get down on my knees and pray for him. So I did. The next night, the same thing happened.

The following morning I felt as if I needed to call him and tell him what had been happening, and the specifics of what had been put in my heart. It was the strongest urge I've ever had to act on something that was eating at me. I kept telling God, "I feel like you want me to tell this person what you're sharing with me, but there's no way I can go to someone I barely know and say these things." I felt as long as I let God know I couldn't do it, he'd call on somebody else. For those of you who know how God works, you already know this didn't fly very far at all.

The third night, this happened to me again. And the fourth night. Finally I told God that if I woke up with it baring down on me again, that I would call this person, tell them what was happening,, and make myself look entirely foolish.

The next day, I still couldn't shake it. I finally realized that, whether this was from God or not, it wasn't going away until I talked to this person. So, I got out the phone book, looked up his number and dialed. "Hello so and so, I'm sure you don't know me, but I have something I feel like I need to tell you." I already sounded half out of my mind, and I was sure he wasn't impressed. To my surprise he was very receptive and listened to every word I said as I babbled about what had been happening to me in the middle of the night.

After a bit of crying on both our parts, he said it was time for me to listen to what he had to say.
He began to tell me how for 4 nights he had been on his knees praying for some answers from God, and wondering why he wasn't feeling what God wanted from him. He said he was begging for clear answers.
I knew right then and there that if you feel a strong urge to intervene in someone's else's life, that it's most likely God's urging. I also realized that my stubborness to oblige held up the answers God was trying to give this man. I learned a hard lesson about being a faithful steward that day, and made a great friend in return.
I had no idea what was going on in this man's life, and certainly didn't feel like I should be telling him the things I did, but when I finally got up the nerve to go to him, he helped me to see how God works in one person's life to affect another.
There have been numerous times that I've walked past someone and felt the need to go back and say something to them, and I have. It has always been recieved well, almost as if they were expecting it, and perhaps they were. I don't question it anymore.

Many times I've felt something tell me to give someone a $10 bill, or pay for their meal, or tell them I didn't know what was going on in their life, but I wanted them to know that I would pray for them.

 Everytime we donate coats in the winter, there's that little voice telling us to stick a little money in the pocket.

I once even felt like I was supposed to hug someone I didn't know and had never seen before. This was a scary one, but I actually did it. The woman asked me why I did it and I told her I just felt like I was supposed to. She started crying and told me a few things that had been going on in her life, and said "I just told God I only wanted someone to care. I guess you're that someone. Wow, God really does listen."
I'm sure that made her day as much as it made mine.

I've always believed that you never know when you're entertaining angels or when God is testing the person he made in us. I try to do good, and be good to others as much as I can. It doesn't require any effort to be nice to someone. Are you mindful of what you say to others, how you treat them? You truly never know what's going on in another person's life, and how what you say or how you treat them can affect their day or their confidence. Let's all try to be better servants, regardless of who we serve. Let's all try to make a difference in someone's day or someone's life. Let's do it, not just say it. Tell someone why you care for them, not just that you do. Tell them what makes them special, not just that they are. Offer to help whenever you can, and mean it.

Teach your children to compliment others and say nice things to them. Teach them that what you say DOES have an impact on people's lives. Teach them that just because another child doesn't have all the things they might have, it doesn't make them any different inside. Teach them to have basic respect for other people. Teach them that life isn't all about what you have and how much you accumulate, but more importantly about what kind of person you are and what you do with what you've been given.

God's word says that "To whom much is given, much is expected". That means something whether you believe in God or not. Do good things and surround yourself with good people and the rest will fall into place. I truly believe that. I believe you draw to you what you are. If you're a negative person, then you'll continue to draw negativity into your life. And, if you're positive, positive things will follow you.
Choose to be postive. Choose to create positive little ones that will grow up and be positive adults. Let's all do our part to make this world turn back on it's positive side.

I'll be back in a few days to tell you about a few miracles in my life. I thought I would discuss it today, but I had no idea this post would take on a life of it's own, and I feel it is more than long enough to suffice for a few days. Miracles deserve a post all their own.

May you feel the love of the season in your heart and share it with others!


  1. Lovely post Polly, thanks for sharing this.Merry Christmas!

  2. Hi Polly~
    I loved seeing your Christmas decorating!
    Thanks for sharing it all with us.
    Merry Christmas, Donna

  3. Such a beautiful and meaningful post, Polly. Thank you for the inspiring words.
    Living it up at Lakewood,

  4. I feel I need to tell you how much this post has meant to me. Tears were shed reading the stories you told. You have a way of writing down your feelings that I wish I had. It was such a strong message, and I am proud of you for being willing to write it. I am a believer, too, but could never put it into words like you did. Bravo Polly, and I know you will touch others with this post.

  5. Beautiful, PJ, just like you...inside and out. :-) I'm looking forward to seeing you soon!

  6. PJ, this is beautiful and tears came to my eyes. I also see and feel God in my life daily. He is Amazing and we could all feel Him if we would just 'be still and know'. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences!

  7. I absolutely loved your blog post. It was so inspiring to read this morning. I hope you have an amazing Christmas this year.

  8. I really appreciated your post.......I was teary eyed through most of it. I found your blog through Layla's at The Lettered Cottage. :) I too am a Christian and love the Lord with all my heart. I have experienced some of the same kids of things you explained in your post. We had a gentleman ask us for $5.00 at a gas station once....we normally don't just hand out cash to strangers, but both of us felt we needed to help this man. We ended up giving him, I think it was $20.00. We were going to church that night........guess who was at church? That man was a pastor from another town and had run out of gas, he stopped in for our service before using the gas that we had bought him to go home. God is such a good God and it's so nice to be used in everyday small little miracles like that. :)
    Melissa Thorn

  9. I just wrote a long comment about your post, but I don't think it posted.... :0(. I just discovered you today & was absolutely blown away by the Love of Christ that is demonstrated in your pictures, your creations, and your blogs. You have inspired me & tomorrow I am determined to make a difference in someone's life. Thank you for being the voice of Jesus in my life today.

  10. This post meant so much to me when you posted it last year and I remembered it throughout the year.
    As we settle into our new little home, it even means more to me this year. Thank you for repeating words I needed to read again.

  11. Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for sharing the joy you have received by listening to our dear Lord.

    Blessings to you in your next move. I believe your downsizing will be rewarded in layer upon layer. Look forward to hearing the joy that bubbles up through the process.

  12. Thinking of you, today, Polly. Getting ready to head out for my morning. It is my time to reflect, give thanks and clear my mind. Today is a lovely day in Florida...finally.

  13. Stopping by from Location Central blog/Tennessee.. XOXOXO!!

  14. Polly, Thank you so much for sharing this, you have no idea how much this encourages me! His love is so contagious! Blessings to you in the new year!

  15. Hi Polly,
    This was a beautiful post. A great reminder to thank God for all the blessings he has given me and to remember to help those that are less fortunate.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog tonight and leaving your sweet comment. It's wonderful to have you as a friend.


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