for release December 14, 2001
by Melodie Davis
Right Place, Right Time
Every Christmas has a moment-or moments if you are lucky-when the spirit of the season wraps itself around your heart and you feel you have experienced just a little of what Christmas is all about. Sometimes you have to look hard for that magic moment, dashing between programs and parties, shopping and cooking, errands and work.
Just two minutes later
On the Saturday before Christmas last year, I helped to staff the Clothes Closet our church operates. The clients who usually come must have been too busy doing errands and everything else, too, because for most of the morning, no one came. That was okay. The other staff person and I decided to go ahead and close up.
We were heading to our cars to go home when a woman drove up. I was a little afraid my co-worker wouldn't be wild about the idea of going back and opening it up again; we were both tired from standing around waiting; both busy with our agendas of things we needed to do yet at home.
But my co-worker gladly agreed that we should open the Clothes Closet back up, and the woman came in. She was very happy, telling us that she couldn't come on Wednesday nights when we were also open, because she works evenings. She wanted to get some sweaters -- for herself or for gifts, I'm not sure, but I do know that if she had been just a minute or two later, we would have been gone. She would have missed it, and we would have, too.
A day early
Then I went to quickly buy some presents for an elderly aunt who was in a nursing home. She wanted to give the presents at a Christmas dinner she was going to. This aunt never wants to ask for any help, never tells you how you can help; but somehow she let it slip that she wished there was a way for her to buy some presents for the children who would be at the Christmas dinner.
Well, I thought she was leaving the nursing home on Sunday to go to this home for Christmas Eve, but my daughter and I stopped by the nursing home around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, to take her the presents for the children. There she sat on the bed, all packed and ready to go away. She had gotten confused, and gotten ready for her ride a day early. She thought she would just make do for presents with a few little things that had been given to her while she was in the nursing home. When the family found out she was ready and waiting, they did pick her up a day early. So we got there just in time: she could go to her Christmas dinner party with her gifts in tow, just like she wanted.
Right on time
One more errand. I went to the post office to buy stamps from the machine because the windows were closed on Saturday. However, as I looked at the machine, I realized it was all sold out of the conventional postage stamps; there were some expensive special delivery and airmail type stamps left, ones I couldn't use. I was ready to leave.
But there was an Hispanic man trying in vain to figure out the machine. He couldn't tell that the machine was sold out of most of the stamps. He had already put in 50 cents, and couldn't get it back without making a purchase. I asked him if he spoke English. He said no. Using my halting Spanish, I tried to explain that most of the stamps were sold out, and helped him figure out which stamps he could use.
If someone who wasn't able to talk Spanish hadn't come along, I' don't know what he would have done. He probably would have just figured things out the best he could.
I tell all of these stories not, in any way, to glorify anything I did in these little moments. They were moments when I felt like at least I had been in the right place at the right time, and maybe brightened someone else's day a little bit.
This Christmas, be on the watch for how you possibly will be in the right place at the right time for someone else. In this way you'll keep the spirit of Christmas glowing in your life, in honor of The One who came to earth exactly at the right place, the right time.
For a free Christmas gift from Another Way, write for your Another Way
Write to: Melodie Davis, Another Way c/o Name\Address of YOUR newspaper; or e-mail: Melodie@mennomedia.org.
You can also visit Another Way on the Web at www.thirdway.com.
Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from a number of organizations including the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three growing daughters.
NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 675 words; end material = 105 words
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