Secret Santa

"I don't know if it happened again this Christmas season, but for many years in the Kansas City area a 'Secret Santa' has sought out people who are down on their luck and quietly slipped them an envelope with a crisp $100 bill tucked inside. The people are usually astonished at this unmerited act of generosity. Many stand there with tears in their eyes, wondering what brought about this good fortune.

“A few years ago, someone tracked down this Secret Santa and asked him, 'Why do you do this?' It turns out the man is prosperous in business. But that wasn't always the case. Back in 1971 he was an out-of-work salesman who was reduced to living out of his car. One morning, when he hadn't eaten for two days, he walked into a diner in Houston, Mississippi. And though he had just a single dime in his pocket, he ordered a huge breakfast and ate every morsel. All the while he wondered nervously what he would do when it came time to pay.

“When the check came, he fumbled around; pretending he'd lost his wallet. The owner of the diner had already sized him up, however, and came around the counter. The owner bent to the ground as if to pick something up and said, 'Here, you must have dropped this.' And he handed the man a $20 bill. The man never forgot this totally undeserved act of generosity and goodness, and now he makes a point of 'doing unto others as some generous soul had done unto him.'[i]

This is a beautiful story. It reminds me of an email I recently received that featured a story about a young boy who met an elderly man in the park and shared his Twinkies and root beer with him. When the child returned home later that day his mother asked him about the look of joy he had on his face. He said it was because he had “Twinkies and root beer with God in the park”. Similarly, when the man returned to his home, his son asked him about the expression of joy on his face and he said the same thing as the little boy “I had Twinkies and root beer with God in the park”.

I appreciate these stories because they remind me that there are still people in this world that seek not so much their own joy, but to bring joy to others, especially the stranger in our midst. Reaching out to help one another particularly those whom we do not know or whom we do not know very well, is what Jesus tells us to do in the parable of the Last Judgment.

Often times when bad things occur, people ask where is or was God. I like to think that God is there with us right by our side in the second Person of the Trinity, Lord Jesus Christ. The letter to the Hebrews says as much that Jesus is able to identify with us in our pain and suffering because he became one of us in the flesh:

He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin.

Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers”. Now since the children

share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them … Therefore, he had to

become like his brothers in every way, because he Himself was tested through

what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.[ii]

As much as the Lord is with us through good times and bad, God is also with us whenever we are shown mercy or granted one’s forgiveness. In a word, whenever and wherever goodness and mercy and love abounds, there is God in our midst. So when a parishioner assists a fellow parishioner who is blind, there is God; and when a stranger stoops to help a child who has fallen from their bicycle, there is God; and when a soldier shares his goodies sent from home with a family in Afghanistan, there is God.



[i] Prepare the Word. TrueQuest Communications, LLC. Chicago, IL

 

[ii] New American Bible (NAB), Hebrews 2:11, 14-18.

 

 

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