I read this Christmas story and cried ( ok, so I cry at EVERY story I read) but still, it was a great one. I just love Christmas and how magically people's heart seem to get BIGGER AND BIGGER!
The Heavenly Salesman
It was going to be a lean Christmas, Barbara and Ray Thill realized as they surveyed their budget in December 1973. Unexpected medical bills, major repairs on their house and the ongoing needs of a family of nine young children left nothing extra for holiday presents. All of the kids needed pajamas, so Barbara and Ray decided they could afford those and maybe some candy. The children would just have to understand.
"This Christmas we're going to give instead of receive," Barbara explained to the children the next day. Her brother, a father of four, had been out of work for many weeks, and it would be a rough holiday for his family, too. "Why don't each of you choose one of your toys and wrap it up for Uncle Dick's family?" Barbara suggested. "Otherwise, they won't have any celebration at all."
Everyone agreed. The oldest child, Ray Jr., hid his disappointment at not receiving a longed-for sled and decided to buy some small gifts for his cousins out of his paper-route earnings. Barbara was proud of her children, but her heart still ached at the thought of disappointing them.
After the children went to bed on December 24th, Barbara and Ray laid out nine pajamas-filled packages, stuffed nine stockings with candy and smiled at each other. Their family was together, safe and well, and there was even a collection of gifts for Uncle Dick's kids.
Tomorrow would still be a good day.
An hour later a neighbor called. Her husband was on his way home from a business trip and had just telephoned from a highway oasis. He'd stopped for coffee and struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to him-a toy salesman and bachelor with a station wagon full of beat-up samples and no place to donate them at this late hour. "My husband thought of you," the neighbor told Barbara, "so if you can use the toys, we'll drop them off when he gets home."
If she could use them! "Yes, thank you!" Barbara heard herself saying. Soon the doorbell rang, Ray went out to help the neighbors unload, and as the pile of "beat-up samples" grew on the porch, Barbara's eyes filled with tears.
The toys were beautiful, much nicer than anything they'd have been able to afford even in a good year.But even more amazing, there was one perfectly suited toy for each of her children. There were dolls for the girls, a fire engine almost as large as Larry, even a red sled for Ray Jr. There were nine toys for her brood and-incredibly-four extras, ideal for her brother's four kids. It was as if God had gone shopping just for them.
Nearly twenty years later, the Thill family still wonders about the toy salesman. How strange that he should have been on the road so late, waiting until the last moment to dispose of his samples. Perhaps, they think, he was not a salesman at all, but a Christmas angel, sent from heaven to reassure a faithful family that God keeps his promises. "Give and it shall be given unto you, " the Scriptures tell us. The Thills gave from loving hearts and were blessed in abundance. ~ Joan Wester Anderson
"You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give." ~Kahlil Gibran
"To give and then not feel that one has given is the very best of all ways of giving." ~Max Beerbohm
"You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving." ~Author Unknown