The Old Lady at the Bus Stop

I was about 15 years old. A few days before Christmas I was out riding my bike up the street I lived on to the main road, a four-lane road with a medium strip in between. I stopped my bike at the intersection and surveyed the busy traffic going in both directions. I noticed an old lady on the other side standing at the bus stop with both arms full of packages. I dropped my bike and ran across the main road and asked the lady if I could help her. “Oh yes,” she said, “that would be wonderful.”

I grabbed the packages and told her to hold my arm. We slowly, carefully, made our way over the first road to the median strip. She was very frightened. I assured her we were going to be all right. We then crossed the second road and stepped up onto the sidewalk. I asked if she wanted me to carry the packages to her house. She said it was a short distance and she could make it. As she walked off toward home, she turned to me with a look of affection and said, “Thank you my son, have a Merry Christmas.” I felt a warmness come over me that I’ll never forget.

Remembering Christmas Past

One year we took Stephanie and Paul to see the Santa at the Merrifield Nursery. I overheard what the kids told him they wanted. I didn’t hear Stephanie ask for a dollhouse, but I thought it would make a good gift from her mom and me. I bought a kit and began putting it together, working down in the basement almost every night in December after the kids had gone to bed.

On Christmas Eve, I still hadn’t finished it. After I read the kids “The Night Before Christmas,” I went down to the basement and worked on it. About 2:00 o’clock, I was sure I heard a noise upstairs, and then another noise. I thought, could that be Santa? I was very tempted to go up and peek – but I was worried that if he saw me, he might leave. I didn’t go and missed my one chance to see Santa.

Anyhow, I completed the dollhouse about 3 o’clock and half asleep I carried it upstairs and drearily went to bed. The next morning about seven the kids came in jumping on the bed shouting Santa’s come, Santa’s come. My wife and I dragged ourselves downstairs to watch the kids tear into the toys Santa had left. After a while, I said to Stephanie “Look at the dollhouse we made for you.” She walked over, looked at it, said “Thanks, Dad,” and went back to the other toys.

I don’t think she ever played with that dollhouse. But that’s okay, it was a labor of love.

The Thought Behind the Gift

We’ve all received a lot of nice gifts or are going to, and sometimes we lose sight of the “thought behind the gift.” Someone who cares about you, who loves you… thought about what to get you, not just any old gift but what you would like or need. That someone then spent time shopping for the gift and then wrapping it with care.

So, when you look at a gift you are about to open – think about the person who gave it to you and the “thought behind the gift.”