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876th -- The Lady's Hug


We should always be kind and courteous when we come into contact with 
others because in those brief exchanges, our actions speak louder than any
words can portray. When we are kind to others, it is not only a testament
to our faith, but it is also a good way to brighten up someone else's day
who may be going through a tough time and needs our positive affirmation.
Being kind doesn't take any more energy than being rude does, but the 
positive impact that kindness has is a wonder to behold. Not only are you
made better, but the recipient will have a whole new perspective of that 
day. Kindness begets kindness. When we do a good deed for someone else,
they in turn feel the necessity to do something good for someone else as well.

The chain of kindness when started has no ending. It is a ripple effect 
that can move across towns, cities, states and even countries. The simple
things that you do to help better someone else's life may be felt on 
another continent. It is for this reason that we should always be quick 
to smile, be charitable, be helping and simply do for others the same as 
you would have them do for you. Show the same kindness that you would like
to be shown. By doing so, you will be making an impact that can never be
forgotten or erased. (Romans 12:9-10) (Luke 6:31) (Matthew 5:43-48)

I hope this message encourages and challenges you to have the same love and
kindness in your heart for your fellow man.


The traffic in town crawled. Shoppers walked faster than the bumper-
to-bumper cars could move.

“Just a few more blocks,” I muttered. There was so much to do and the heavy
traffic was wasting precious time.

Mapes was one-of-a-kind store that sold hardware, sewing notions, corny 
greeting cards and household goods. It'd been a fixture in town for 
decades. The kids loved the toy aisle, which was stocked with board games,
puzzles and "must-have" items like silly putty, jump ropes and slinky's.

This visit to Mapes had special significance because Christmas was just 
weeks away. Frankie, Sarah and Caitlin took the opportunity to verbally 
add things to their Christmas list as they went along. A school yard sage
had informed them that Santa had super-duper ears and that writing letters
to the North Pole was old-fashioned.

After shopping we walked back to the car. A station wagon was double 
parked next to the car in front of me. Pulling out would be tricky. The 
space was tight, the traffic was thick and now, I had to maneuver around 
the double-parked car. The kids had gained energy from the toy aisle and 
the back seat chatter was escalating.

As I pulled out I heard a loud crunch. The car was suddenly silent. In the
rear view mirror, three sets of eyes were wide with fear.

“It's okay,” I said calmly. “I'm just going to take a look.”

I got out and winced when I saw the cracked taillight and scratched paint
on the other car.

“Just a few more inches and I would've been clear,” I mumbled. 
Unbelievably, my Jeep was unscathed.

A woman climbed out of the station wagon. She was in her mid-sixties, with
a brown hat that matched her knee-length coat. She surveyed the damage. 
Before she could say anything I blurted out an apology.

“I'm so sorry! I thought the car was clear! The kids...” The woman smiled.
I stopped mid sentence. The smile was unexpected and so I waited, unsure 
what would happen next.

The woman's grin broadened as she touched her cracked taillight. “Merry 
Christmas honey.”

My confused look made the woman laugh. “I said, Merry Christmas honey. 
Don't worry about this here car. I'm fine and so are you. Go on and take 
care of those children. My husband will take care of this.”

I suddenly noticed a gray haired man standing on the passenger side, 
nodding and smiling. Overcome with relief, I hugged the woman. The woman 
hugged back and whispered, “Merry Christmas sugar.”

I got back in the car and watched the station wagon pull away. After 
hearing what happened, the kids chattered about how great “the Lady” was.
The rest of the day took on a glow of grace because she gave us the gift 
of kindness. I was sure, although I'd never know her name, I would never 
forget her radiant smile.

Days passed and Christmas drew nearer.

One afternoon, Frankie seemed troubled when he came home from school.

“What's up?” I asked as Frankie slumped on the couch.

“Nothin'.” Which, in boy-speak meant something. Frankie's feet kicked in 
an up and down rhythm that kept his body busy while his 9 year-old mind 
worked on an unnamed problem.

“Care to share?” I sat next to Frankie, carefully avoiding the 
scissor-chop movements of his snow boots.

“Nope.” Frankie's feet stopped. “Maybe later.” And then he was off to play.

At bedtime, Frankie didn't want to sing any songs, which he loved to do in
the weeks before Christmas. Something was definitely up. I rubbed Frankie's
head and asked, "Wanna talk about what's bothering you now?"

Frankie shrugged, but seconds later a question bubbled up. It was one of 
The questions parents face. In the category of questions like, “Why do 
people die?” and “Where do babies come from?”

“Mommy, do you believe in Santa Claus?”

I silently prayed for the right words. Seconds later I saw the Lady's 
brilliant smile and felt her kindness wash over me. An idea came.

“What do you think?”

Frankie shrugged. “Some kids at school said Santa wasn't real. They said 
parents put the gifts under the tree.”

“Are you asking me if there is a Santa, or if parents put the gifts under
the tree?”

Frankie hesitated. “I guess I'm asking both.”

I wrapped my arms around Frankie and gave him a big hug. “I am so proud of you!”

“For what?” Frankie looked puzzled as he sat up against his headboard.

“You're old enough now!”

I moved closer and continued. “You see Frankie, while there isn't a man in
a red suit, there is something called the Christmas Spirit. But when 
children are very little, it's hard for them to understand the Christmas 
Spirit so we say that someone named Santa is responsible for Christmas. 
Parent's know when a child asks whether Santa is real that they're old 
enough to understand the Christmas Spirit.”

Frankie looked surprised. “What's the Christmas Spirit?”

“The Christmas Spirit is love -- pure and simple. Every year, right around
December, there's a special feeling in the air. People are kinder, they 
give to those who have little and spend time with friends and family. Have
you noticed a change recently?”

Frankie thought for a moment. “Everything seems prettier. People seem happier.”

“That's the Christmas Spirit at work. Do you remember the Lady at Mapes a
few weeks ago?”

Frankie nodded and grinned. “Oh yeah! She was so nice!”

“She had the Christmas Spirit. She forgave me even though she didn't know
me. She wished me a Merry Christmas and I can still feel that wish today.
That's how I know she shared the Christmas Spirit with me. It's as real as
if she'd given me a present with a pretty bow. The Christmas Spirit is a 
gift we all receive every year. And those who are most blessed, carry it 
with them all year.”

“I felt her Christmas Spirit too!” Frankie beamed.

“Parents want their children to remember the gift of Christmas every year,
so they put presents under the tree and say a man named Santa is 
responsible until each child asks the question you asked me tonight. Then
they get to share the wonderful secret of the Christmas Spirit.”

“A secret?” Frankie's voice was hushed with awe.

“Yes, now that you asked about Santa, I know that you're old enough to 
understand the Christmas Spirit. But until other children ask their 
parents, you shouldn't tell them there's no Santa because they may not be
old enough to understand yet.”

“Oh, like Sarah is too young.” Frankie nodded and winked. “I won't tell her
I promise.”

"When people ask if I believe in Santa, I say yes. I absolutely believe 
that there is a Christmas Spirit that visits each house at Christmas. Does
it matter whether that Spirit is wearing a red suit? Or what we call it?"

Frankie shook his head. “Nope!”

“So congratulations! You are officially old enough to start learning about
the Christmas Spirit.”

Frankie crinkled his nose. “Start learning?”

“Yep. It takes the rest of your life to figure out how to keep the
Christmas Spirit in your heart all year long.”

“Like the Lady at Mapes.”

I hugged Frankie and felt the warmth and brilliance of the Lady's hug once
more. “Yes Bud, just like her.”

By Teri Goggin-Roberts

Read and meditate on these scriptures:

John 13:34-35 Jesus declares
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye 
love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By
this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to 

Philippians 2:3-7 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not 
every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the
form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself
of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in
the likeness of men.”

Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that
is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; 
but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure
of faith.”

John 13:12-15 “So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His
garments, and was set down again, He said unto them,
Know ye what I have
done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If
I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash
one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as
I have done to you.”

All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.

Today’s Selected Poem: REACHING OUT
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/inpoem153.htm 

Today’s Selected Testimony: MY LIFE CHANGE
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/testimony164.htm

In Christ’s Service,

Dwayne Savaya
God’s Work Ministry


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