The year that my youngest was born, she was 8 weeks early, and we ended up in a women’s shelter after her discharge from the hospital. We moved into the projects, where we had a pull-out sofa, a small t.v. with 3 local channels, a baby swing, and a few dishes. I had few blankets. I slept on that couch with my older daughter on one side and my newborn on the other. Our heat didn’t work well, so we stayed cuddled up on the couch for hours, reading books, watching PBS, or just sleeping. We met with an organization offering family services in partnership with CYFD (in Tennessee, it’s called DCS). Our social worker signed us up, even at such a late date, for the Angel Tree Christmas program, with no promises or guarantees. 
    Christmas came around and I wrapped each item up as a gift separately for the girls, so it would look like they had more than they did. I remember splitting up outfits so that my oldest had presents, used books, small items, and the baby would receive a couple thrift store toys. I was heartbroken. I was hopeless. I was depressed. I had failed. 

https://stocksnap.io/photo/EWYEUJ1LUW

   My dad came, and he brought gifts for the girls. His offerings outshone my own. As I’m sitting there, looking at my pitiful offering for my kids, knowing I’d failed to provide what my daughter had asked for, early Christmas morning, I got a phone call. A church had decided to adopt my family for Christmas. 
Two. Trucks. 
   It took two vehicles to deliver Christmas. Baby things, toys, diapers, new books, stuff Abbi had asked for, cleaning supplies, a pair of gloves and hat and scarf for me, food…. it was amazing. It truly was Christmas in action for us.

from stocksnap photos

   Love never fails. Whatever power you believe in, whatever spiritual connection or energy you give, the love and spirit of Christmas live on in the actions we take.
   Community can be found in the hope that you offer someone – a random stranger, a friend, someone hurting, someone who lives an invisible life. Give the gift of acceptance, acknowledgment, recognition. Give the gift of matter – relevance – this Christmas. 

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