This story is a repost from a few years ago. Since I published the story my friend has gone on to be with Jesus, but her family continues this tradition still today.
This story was shared with me by a friend, it is not my story, but it is a true story.
As she told me, when her little Grandmother was here on Earth their entire family would gather in the grandparent's home each year on Christmas Eve. There would be eating, gift giving and carol singing. Each year there were more family members than the year before.
From the time my friend was a child she could remember her Grandfather following each family to the car as they departed for home carrying a box. It would be tucked into the back of the car without a word. She never saw the box opened as a child.
My friend said that when she married she and her husband received a box of their own. She could not wait to get home and discover the contents of the box. She opened the box that first year to find a package of bathroom tissue, a roll of paper towels, laundry detergent, some Christmas plates and napkins, a loaf of banana bread, toothpaste, dish soap, etc... She said that she found this puzzling. She did not really need any of these items, and she had already received a gift from her grandparents. She tucked everything away into its rightful place.
A few years later she and her husband were having a financially difficult year. Christmas Eve when her Grandfather placed the box into her car she had never been more hopeful that it would contain many of the household items they needed, and it did. However, this particular year she found an envelope tucked into the bottom of the box. Her name was written across the front in her Grandmother's familiar script, and inside was a $100 bill. It was much needed.
After her Grandmother died her Grandfather was moved in to live with family. The children and grandchildren gathered in their grandparents' home to begin the task of cleaning out some of their possessions. As my friend entered one closet in particular, she found shelves filled with those familiar items she recognized from her Christmas box. Her Grandfather sat down with the family and began to tell of how their Grandmother would cut coupons and search the sales papers all year to collect items for each box. He told of how she recycled aluminum cans and baked bread to make the money placed in envelopes for those who needed it.
The children and grandchildren each began to tell their own story of how the money had been placed in their own box at a time when no one else knew they were struggling, but the Grandmother somehow knew. One cousin recalled how she had found stocking stuffers for her children in the bottom of her box one year, when they had been unable to purchase any. The Grandfather told them of how their Grandmother would pray that the Lord would show her what to put into each box. She was always careful never to bring attention to her work. She never wanted any recognition. She always put exactly what was needed into each and every box. And lastly, she prayed over each and every box before the family came. She prayed for the family that would receive it, and then she sent it on its way.
My friend now carries on this tradition for her own family. She enjoys placing these common items in the box and always includes some fun things in her boxes as well. She said that she also prays over each box and has her husband carry the boxes out to the car just as her Grandmother did. She recently shared with me that she found that each of her siblings now carry on this same tradition with their families.
What an awesome way to serve our own family!
God is good, all the time!