My first Christmas with the Tills was the best Christmas I have ever had. Even though I’ve only been with the Tills for a short time, they have become like my family. I believe that I wasn’t the only one who had a special Christmas this year.
I woke up one morning and looked at the calendar. It was December 19. “Only about a week until Christmas.” I thought. I knew that I wanted to get Brooke a present, but I didn’t know where I was going to get the money. I was just thinking about how I could make her a really pretty Christmas decoration with my own two hands, when Brooke walked in. “Good morning Roxanne, you want to hear my Christmas list for mom and dad?” “Sure.” I said, and Brooke began to read. “Nail polish, lip gloss, pencils, drawing paper, the Little House book series, and a butterfly net. Well, I’d better get ready for school. I’m going to get you something really nice, Tilly.” I thought about that. I then knew that I couldn’t just make something. She’s like my sister, and she deserves a good present. I thought for a long time that day before I came up with a solution: I needed to get a job.
I looked out the window and saw the ground covered in soft, white snow. Little kids may look out and think about snowmen, sledding, snowballs, and other activities. Adults may look out and think of mittens, hats, scarfs, and other things to bundle their kids up with. Most of my friends probably looked out and thought of a snow day or two. Me? I looked out of the window that morning and thought of money; money that I would earn shoveling people’s driveways. So, I bundled up, grabbed a shovel, and started to walk around the neighborhood.
As I went to the first house, I rang the doorbell and waited. A woman of about thirty answered the door. “Hi,” I said. “I was wondering if you were interested in hiring someone to shovel your driveway.” She smiled and we discussed a price. Soon I was shoveling her driveway for five dollars. While I was shoveling, Hillary and Lindsey walked by “What are you doing?” asked Hillary. “Community service or something?” she said in a mocking voice. “No, I’m earning money to buy Christmas presents.” I said. “Ha! I just get money from my bank account. My parents give me all the money I want.” Said Hillary. I told her that not everyone has everything served to them on a platter, which made Hillary stomp off, with Lindsey right behind her.
Over the course of the next two days, I shoveled driveways and earned plenty of money. Finally, after a lot of hard work, I had all of the money necessary to buy the Little House series except for five dollars. Thankfully, there was still one house left to shovel. However, since it was getting dark, I decided to go in for the night. So, I went home, got my sore body into bed, and opened my Bible. It fell open to Psalm 71:9, which says, “Do not cast me away when I am old, and do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” I glanced at it, and then began my reading in Matthew, where I read the sermon on the mount in chapter five.
The next morning, I got ready and went to the last house. “Just five dollars more.” I thought. As I walked toward the house, I spotted Mr. Adams already shoveling his driveway. Mr. Adams was around eighty years old and, while his health wasn’t in any danger as far as I knew. He was struggling to shovel. As he went inside for a break, I recalled the verse about old age. I also remembered a verse somewhere that said that when you do something for the least of these, good or bad, you are also doing it to Jesus. With this in mind, I walked over to his driveway and began to shovel. After a while, Mr. Adams came out and, when he saw me, it looked like he was going to cry. “Thank you Roxanne, thank you so much. I didn’t know how I was going drive to the grocery store with my car blocked. Here, let me give you some money.” “No,” I said. “This is my way to bless you.” Mr. Adams wished me a merry Christmas, and then went inside.
My heart soared at the thought of helping Mr. Adams, but also groaned at the fact that I was five dollars short of the gift for Brooke. I went to the store and saw that they were selling drawing kits for almost the exact amount of money that I had. I picked up the kit and started to walk toward the cashier. Before I could pay, however, I heard a small cry. I looked around, and saw a young boy of about six standing with his mother. The boy was crying, not a whine or a scream, but genuine, sad cry that only comes from a truly broken heart. They were near the Christmas trees, and I couldn’t help but overhear. “Mommy, can’t we please get a tree, even just a little one?” he pleaded. “I’m sorry honey, but we just don’t have enough money for a tree right now.” She said sadly. “But didn’t daddy get a new job?” “He did, but he hasn’t yet earned enough for a tree or presents.” The mother said, near tears. “But mommy, without a tree, where are we going to put up grandma’s star?” There was more, but I had heard enough. I looked at the drawing kit, and then at the mother and son. I could see that their clothes were old and worn. I went to the cashier and asked how much the trees were. “Twenty-five dollars.” He said. I thought to myself: If I bought a tree for them, I would only have enough money for nail polish. When I thought about the least of these, however, I knew what I had to do.
Exiting the store with one dollar in hand, I went to the dollar store and purchased a Christmas nail polish (red and green together). When I got home, I put it in a small gift bag and laid it under the tree. During the candlelight service, the pastor asked if anybody wanted to share something. A young woman came up to the front, and when I saw her, I realized that it was the woman who I bought the tree for. She wiped away a tear and spoke. “Yesterday, I was with my son at the store. He wanted a tree, but we couldn’t afford one. When I went to purchase my things, the cashier said that someone brought us a tree. When I asked him who it was, he said that they wished to remain anonymous. It just caused me to think about the true meaning of Christmas: charity and the birth of Christ. To be honest I blamed God for my family’s misfortunes, and he still saw us through. For this reason, my family has decided to begin attending church again.
The rest of the service was beautiful. I was thanking God that I made the right decision and that he used me in such a glorious way. I no longer felt guilty and saddened by my small gift for Brooke. In fact, when she opened the gift, she gave me a big hug. I looked at my parents, and they had tears in their eyes. “What is it?” I asked. My mom replied, “We know what you did for Mr. Adams and Mrs. Clark.” I was puzzled. “How could you know that?” I asked. “It’s really quite simple.” Said my dad. “Mr. Adams is a good friend of ours. Also, Mrs. Clark is his daughter. When he heard about the tree, he suspected it was you.” “You know, said Brooke. “Mr. Adams has been trying to convince Mrs. Clark to attend church for years. She used to allow him to take her son, Aiden, but after Mr. Clark lost his job, she wouldn’t let him go.” I couldn’t believe it! My small act of charity brought a family together and back in the church. I was overwhelmed that God used me in such a wonderful way. After such a wonderful Christmas, I just have one thing to say: God bless everyone!