I’d been praying to be led to someone our family could serve this Christmas season.  For whatever reason, nothing seemed to come up.  I knew of food bank needs, and our kids took canned goods to school to help with the food drive.  I knew of the loneliness of the residents of a local senior care center and had my PLC students make cards for them.  My kids finished the cards so that each resident could receive two.  I agreed to continue the tradition Hub and his kids have of randomly handing out cash to strangers.  But, none of these acts of service seemed like the “one.”  It still felt like there was something else we could do, or needed to do, but what was it?

Then, last Sunday, a plea for help caught my eye.  A single mom needs help providing a Christmas for her family.  Having been a single mom for a time, anything about single moms catches my eye.  She has four kids.  I was a single mom with four kids.  She has three girls and a boy.  I have three girls and a boy.  Her boy is the youngest.  My boy is the youngest.  Of course, all of this was going to catch my attention! 

But, it was there that our similarities ended.  She lives in an apartment.  Her son is a heart patient and has already had one open heart surgery in which he received a donor valve.  He will outgrow that valve and will need open heart surgery again in the future.  Because of all the time she spends with her son at the hospital she is unable to work.  She was able to buy herself a car in August, “Nothing pretty,” she says, “but it worked.”  Then, two days after Thanksgiving, she was hit by a drunk driver and the car was totaled.  She sent out a plea for someone to help her family have a Christmas.

This was the one.

I approached Hub about my desire to help this little family.  He agreed that it was something we could do.  I don’t want to go into much detail about what we have decided to do, but our kids have agreed to certain sacrifices.  I also spent time on the phone with each of my extended family members who have all agreed to give up a certain traditional activity at my Mom’s Christmas party and, instead, put the money towards providing this little family with a Christmas dinner and stocking stuffers.  It took most of the week to coordinate, hence no new postings from me.  But, it has all fallen into place in a week’s time.

Our kids did their shopping for the mystery family last night.  The only “need” that had been requested was socks and underwear for the two youngest kids.  It was fun to see the kids partner up and try to find things that the kids in the family might enjoy and it was gratifying to hear them say to each other that it was fun.  They have also expressed a desire to go with us when we deliver “Christmas” on Tuesday.  My mom’s party is tomorrow night and we will return home with the Christmas dinner and stocking stuffers to add to the growing pile in my bedroom.  

Every once in awhile someone will share an idea on something else we can do to add to the “Christmas.”  The entire experience sort of reminds me of the line from Field of Dreams–“If you build it, they will come.”  I was looking for an opportunity to serve.  I prayed for it.  And the opportunity presented itself.  A short time before Christmas, when I had decided that it was too late to help anyone, the opportunity came.

If you look for opportunities to serve, they will come.