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Len Berghoef

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True Christmas Story
12/13/2006 3:59:57 PM

Hi Friends,

This was sent to me by a friend. I thought I would share it with you. :)

A True Christmas Story

A beautiful story........makes one think..
A little early maybe, but well worth reading............
  It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the
branches of our Christmas tree.
No name, no identification, no inscription. It has
peeked through the branches of our tree for the
past 10 years or so.

 It all began because my husband Mike hated
Christmas-oh, not the true meaning of Christmas,
but the commercial aspects of it overspending ... 
the frantic running around at the last minute to get
a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for
Grandma-the gifts given desperation because
you couldn't think of anything else.

 Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year
to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and
so forth. I reached for something special just
for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
 Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was
wrestling at the junior level at the school he
attended; and shortly before Christmas, there
was a non-league match against a team
sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black.
  These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so
ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only
thing holding them together, presented a sharp
contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and
gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.
As the match began, I was alarmed to see that
the other team was wrestling without headgear,
a kind of light helmet designed to protect a
wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team
obviously could not afford.

 Well, we ended up walloping them. We took
every weight class.  And as each of their boys
got up from the mat, he swaggered around in
his tatters with  false bravado, a kind of street
pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

 Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly,
I wish just one of them could have won, he said..
They have a lot of potential, but losing like this
could take the heart right out of them. Mike loved
kids-all kids-and he knew them, having coached
little league football, baseball and lacrosse.
That's when the idea for his present came.

 That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods
store and bought an assortment of wrestling
headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously
to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I
placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside
telling Mike what I had done and that this was
his gift from me.

  His smile was the brightest thing about
Christmas that year and  in succeeding years.
For each Christmas, I followed the tradition---
one year sending a group of mentally handicapped
youngsters to a hockey game, another year a
check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home
had burned to the ground the week before
Christmas, and on and on.

  The envelope became the highlight of our
Christmas. It was always the last thing opened
on Christmas morning and our children,
ignoring their new toys, would stand with
wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted
the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
  As the children grew, the toys gave way
to more practical presents, but  the envelope
never lost its allure. The story doesn't end
there. You see,  we lost Mike last year due
to dreaded cancer.  When Christmas rolled
around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I 
barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve
found me placing an envelope on the tree,
and in the morning, it was joined by three

  Each of our children, unbeknownst to the
others, had placed an envelope on the tree
for their dad. The tradition has grown and
someday will expand even further with our
grandchildren standing around the tree with
wide-eyed anticipation watching as their
fathers take down the envelope.  Mike's 
spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always
be with us.

 May we all remember Christ, who is the
reason for the season, and the true
Christmas spirit this year and always.

 God bless---pass this along to your
friends and loved ones.

Don't take life too seriously; no one
gets out alive.
Your friend,



Start a 2nd income and get out of debt!
Donald Rich

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Re: True Christmas Story
12/13/2006 6:28:43 PM

Leonard; A great story.--don

Robert Coaster

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Re: True Christmas Story
12/13/2006 8:35:56 PM
Hi Leonard, Thanks for posting such a great story. Merry Christmas! Bob
Re: True Christmas Story
12/14/2006 1:39:51 AM

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story...what a great idea to pass along as the starting of a new tradition.

Blessings for a joyous and magical Christmas as we remember the reason we celebrate this season.


Mary Smith

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Re: True Christmas Story
12/14/2006 2:54:34 PM

A story that touches the heart,thank-you Leonard.

Mary :)

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