My eldest daughter came to me and asked if I would help her with something. She had noticed a sweet little girl that we saw often who did not have a lot of clothing. This little girl seemed to have one special dress (a very pretty summer dress) that she wore to church weekly, but nothing else. My daughter asked if I thought that she could somehow surprise the little girl with a new dress for Christmas so that she would have at least a warmer dress and one that would make her feel pretty, and special. I told her that I thought that was a great idea and asked her what she had in mind. My daughter then began hunting online for just the perfect dress and trying to figure out a way to secretly give it to the little girl. I was impressed, my daughter was not doing this for the recognition and warm fuzzy feeling we get when we make someone's day. She actually was trying very hard to figure out how to avoid the little girl knowing who she was as she worried that the little girl would feel an obligation to her. My daughter came up a bit discouraged at the prices of dresses so she came to me asking how she could make this happen as she didn't have quite enough money for what she wanted (afterall she only earns money infrequently babysitting). I struck her a deal and offered to pay half, but that still required a large chunk of her almost not existant funds. I kind of expected her to re-think her gift at that point, she was using almost her whole Christmas budget on a little girl who was not family, or a close friend, and whom she would not even have the pleasure of being thanked by as this was all going to be done secretly. I was pleasantly surprised, she jumped up and ran to get her money.
We ordered the dress in the size we thought would fit perfectly and my daughter was ecstatic. She spent time typing a sweet note and wrapping the gift and she even figured out a way for someone completely unconnected to us to give the little girl the present. My daughter was not only very concerned that the little girl not find out who the gift was from, but also that she not be embarrased so this was all done very covertly. My daughter did not even know if she would recieve a report of the little girl's reaction.
I have to say I was so very proud of the generosity that my daughter showed. She got it, a lesson I have struggled to always teach my children. Do for others, it feels great, even when you don't get the recognition for something you did, it feels so good to give. I think that is part of God's gift to us, rewarding us with that warm fuzzy feeling when we have done something good for someone else. The gift of giving to others.
The best part of the whole story is that my daughter did get to find out about the little girl's reaction. The go-between actually got to see the little girl open the gift, and get emotional about her excitement. The little girl immediately wanted to know who gave it to her and the go-between was good to say only that someone wanted the little girl to have something special for Christmas. My daughter got so excited when she heard how the little girl reacted, she said it made it so worth it.
That my friends, is what Christmas spirit is all about.