Part of our goodwill series – True Christmas Spirit
The year was 1978. In the USA, we were battered by high unemployment, extraordinarily high inflation and an out of control cost of living.
As Christmas fast approached, I was working in my first professional job. The pay was low and although most people liked working with each other, the business owner was the sort of leader who represented the worst side of capitalism. In other words, he lived large while we barely eked out a living.
Though we all struggled there was a young mother in our accounting department who fell on particularly rough times. She was single and responsible for three young children. The Friday before Christmas, her department was discussing plans for the upcoming holiday. When asked what she was going to do, she embarrassingly said, “I don’t have any plans”. When pressed she admitted she didn’t even have enough money to purchase even a small tree for her apartment. As I said, pay was low and inflation high.
That set something in motion that I had never experienced before and most likely never experience again.
You see, word got out and spread like wildfire throughout the facility. In the next few hours, enough money was collected to provide a special Christmas for her and her children. Very quietly, various people were dispatched to take care of things. One was sent to get a tree. Another was sent to pick up the Christmas meal. Several others were sent to purchase toys and gifts for her family.
Christmas fell on Monday that year, but by the end of Friday, she was presented with a Christmas tree, lights, a Christmas meal and gifts for her and her children. Of course, she was grateful for all we had done. But we didn’t do it to make ourselves feel better. We did it to create a special Christmas for her.
Thirty-seven years have passed since that time. Never again have I witnessed such a spontaneous urge of giving. Whenever Christmas approaches, I think back on that time and get a tear in my eye. Not a tear of sadness but truly a tear of joy for the goodwill that occurred at that special moment so many years ago.
This memory reminds me of the power of people and the goodness that resides in our hearts for the true spirit of Christmas had been awakened and displayed on this special day back in 1978.