A Christmas Saved
By: John M. Curtin
Who ever said that it takes something big to make the Christmas spirit alive? This is a story of this past Christmas, and how my holidays were turned around by a cup of hot chocolate, into something great!
So far, the month of December wasn’t looking bright - at least for me anyway. I was a senior in high school, and I had just applied for the Early Decision process at the University at Buffalo. This process let me know early whether or not I was accepted. The date that the college was to inform me was December 15th. As you can imagine, from December 1st to the 15th, my anticipation was quickly rising, and I was getting excited. “What a great Christmas this will be if I am accepted” I often said. On the Friday before the 15th, I received a letter from UB that told me that with deep regret, my application was denied. I knew that this wasn’t the end, for I had plenty of time left to apply everywhere else. Nevertheless, I was still disappointed because I had worked so hard on the application. Shortly after, I got sick with an inner ear canal infection, which kept me out of school for a couple days. It began to heal after a few days, and I returned to school. I also went back to work after being sick, for I was employed part-time by a local supermarket, as a cart boy. It was only one week later, exactly 5 days before Christmas Day, that I lost my job because of job cuts. As it was, everybody was very short on money this holiday season because of the economy. I had barely enough to get the few Christmas gifts for my girlfriend, sister, and parents that I had gotten. Now, without a job to provide me with the little income I received, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through Christmas. This Christmas was just going to be another day for me. Sure I was excited about the presents on Christmas Day, but I wasn’t feeling the spirit of Christmas. To add on top of everything, my ear infection came back a day before Christmas Eve, leaving me with temporary, but complete hearing loss in my right ear - which is very irritating - you only hear half of everything!
It was now Christmas Eve, and I was outside shoveling and scraping the ice and snow for my across-the-street neighbor, for her husband had just recently passed away, and she couldn’t shovel by herself. The neighbor next to her had saw me shoveling and asked me to shovel her driveway so she could get her car out. Though my protest, she had given me five dollars to do it. So, I shoveled for my neighbor’s next door elder, and finished my neighbors lot. Afterwards, I returned home and changed into something warm. About ten minutes later, the doorbell rang, and the neighbor who gave me five dollars to shovel her out, brought me a McDonalds Hot Chocolate, figuring I was cold. This was much to my surprise, for I hadn’t ever really gotten to meet her or talk to her, and although I was like a stranger to her, she brought me a hot chocolate and gave me holiday greetings out of the goodness of her heart. That small hot chocolate brought alive the Christmas spirit in me because it reminded me that Christmas isn’t about materials, like gifts or money. Christmas is about showing love and tenderness to the ones around you, and gathering with the ones you love not only to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but also to reflect on the past year you have lived and all the great things that happened.
Who would have guessed that a simple holiday greeting and cup of hot chocolate could save my Christmas? Thank you to the nice woman across the street, and her kindness. God Bless, and Merry Christmas!