Monday, December 24, 2007
"A Cup of Christmas Tea" & a memory
I hope things are peaceful at your house this morning, as they are at mine. All the packages are wrapped, the visits are winding down, and this was a good morning to revisit the 25-year-old classic by Tom Hegg, "A Cup of Christmas Tea." This book was read aloud at a memorable Christmas tea I attended some years ago. It's the tale of a nephew who feels guilty about not visiting his elderly aunt, so finally he breaks down and decides to take her up on her offer to share "a cup of Christmas tea" with her. In the process, he finds he is tremendously blessed himself, and lo and behold, the aunt helps provide those magical old Christmas sentiments.
Do you have a "Cup of Christmas Tea" sort of Christmas memory? I do. I was volunteering at a homeless shelter, and Christmas was just days away. A very generous community had donated so many gifts there was barely room in the small office for me to sit down behind the desk. Every woman and child had received everything on their wish list, and gifts were still pouring in. Candy, meals, treats of every sort arrived in a steady stream. There was a knock at the office door, and I looked up to see Lynn, who'd been living there after she'd finally (hallelujah) gotten away from an abusive relationship. For reasons I still don't understand, Lynn had taken a liking to me. She'd had a rough life, she was almost overjoyed to get a job at a local fast food place, and she just really touched my heart. Well, Lynn walks in with a gift-wrapped present for ME, and I nearly died! A woman at a homeless shelter had a gift for me? How humbling is that! "Oh, I HAD to get you a present, Angela!" she said, beaming with Christmas joy. I wanted a hole in the floor to open up and swallow me. I unwrapped the gift and found a box that had the name of a local dollar store imprinted on it. Inside was a small glass nativity set. Each year when I unwrap the pieces for display, I remember that it is one of the most "expensive" Christmas gifts I have ever received. And wherever she is in the world, I hope Lynn and her child are doing well, and I'm thankful for the lesson she taught me.
For those of us who celebrate Christmas, we remember the gift of the Christ child, the most "expensive" gift God could have chosen to give us. Like God, she graciously gave a gift out of the abundance of her heart. My job was simply to learn to receive the gift.
Just wanted to share my "Cup of Christmas Tea" inspired story and wish you all a peaceful and blessed Christmas!