— W.C. Jones
(b. July 12, 1772)
Earlier this week, a letter that would tug at the heartstrings of even Ebenezer Scrooge prior to his eve of eye-opening fellowship with three Yuletide ghosts was forwarded to my office computer.
It was an emotional Christmas message, one that tells two stories.
First, it points to the innate goodness and the spirited humanitarian ways of people, both traits of which are deeply seated within most hometown hearts year-round but which blossom like spring flowers at Christmastime.
Second, it lives and breathes the merit of a simple “thank you,” not that such courtesies are expected from warmhearted givers, but that its shows an endearing sincerity from the recipient whose life has been changed by a few brightly wrapped packages of kindness; and most importantly, by the love behind them.
Dated out of Charleston, the letter is not signed by name. By policy, our newspaper doesn’t publish anonymous pieces as “Letters to the Editor.” But, that doesn’t lessen their value, and especially not in this most precious of Christmas seasons.
Simply put, it is just too beautiful of a message not to be seen in print by as many Cleveland, Charleston and Bradley County readers as possible.
This note of “thank you” goes out to some good people who gave to another family of good people in the tiny Bradley County town to Cleveland’s north. Yet, its heart-light illuminates a path to the front doors of anyone whose outreach has ever made a difference in the life of another.
The Charleston letter is tagged, “What Christmas is All About, a Thank You to a Local Family.”
The next words are those from the grateful recipient of this Christmas miracle:
“I wanted to thank some wonderful people who just showed up at our door with Christmas gifts for our children. I don’t know their names, or where they are from, but I have to give this a chance so that they know how much we appreciate what they did for our little family. If you publish this, thank you so very much; if you aren’t able to, thank you for reading it.
“My husband is a disabled veteran. I am a stay-at-home mother and have been looking for a job for over a year. Our money is tight to say the least. We have used up our savings making sure that our bills are paid and kids are fed. Each year it’s harder and harder, but we are surviving.
“Around this time of year, I worry about Christmas presents and how to juggle money to make ends meet. We always manage, but it’s worrisome and stressful. Today, someone knocked on our door and brought us joy and warmth, something that may not have meant much to them, but meant the world to us. A couple of sports balls, a skateboard, a jacket for my daughter, little knick-knacks for all of them, and some board games and stuffed animals.
“I was still in shock, and not quite understanding what had just happened when they left, so I just want to make sure that they understand what a wonderful blessing it is to us. It’s been over an hour since they left and tears are still rolling down my cheeks.
“I pray that many blessings follow them, and that God blesses their family as much as they just blessed us. Thank you, to all of you. What you did is what Christmas is all about, and I pray that others will begin to give as you have given. God bless your family.”
It is signed, “The Family in Charleston.”
One of my all-time favorite movies has nothing to do with the Christmas season, but one of its key messages has everything to do with people and their strength within. The 1984 film is titled “Star Man.” In one scene, an alien — played by Jeff Bridges — who is invited to Earth by a recording from the space probe “Voyager 2,” tells civilian scientist Mark Shermin, “Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about [humans]? You are at your very best when things are worst.”
No better words can be spoken about the human race.
No better time for their outpouring of love than at Christmas.
No greater gift than that which comes from the heart.
Star Man was right. Humanity is at its best when times are at their worst.
Today, a Charleston family knows this to be true.
And their message came from the stars.