than to receive. That is true, but it changes you to be on the receiving end too.
Have you ever received a gift that took your breath away, that made your heart jump, that brought tears to your eyes and a lump to your throat? Well, that happened to each of the teachers at our school this year. John is our 'neighborhood angel'. He is about 80 years old I would guess, gnarled hands, white hair, a tiny bit stooped, never drawing attention to himself, never going further than our front office. He sometimes visits with the principal in the mornings but none of the teachers has had a meaningful conversation with him. The most I ever said was "Good morning, nice to have you visit us." I would see him linger at the gold painted financial contribution box that is locked to the front table and he would appear to be reading all the bulletins on the wall but I had a strong hunch he was putting money into the box every now and then. So the week before the holiday break each classroom teacher received this card (click on the photo to see the words) hand delivered by our principal:
It was made clear that John does not want recognition. There were suggestions that we put together a basket for him or have the children make some card or artwork but we were told "No, he would be uncomfortable." Several of us googled his name and found nothing; not even an address near our school. We all signed a thank you card for him. I hope he knows the impact this had on us. I did my best to' pay it forward', to be more generous in my own seasonal giving. If there was a 'spirit of Christmas' award, John would be my nominee!