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Christmas clothes, the conclusion

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

With the excited kids in tow, Donna arrived at Logos House Mission well before her scheduled appointment. Going towards the back, she saw Miss Liz sitting behind her desk, with an attractive young woman quietly chatting with her. Buzzing around the duo were two boisterous children, not unlike her own.

Catching her eye, Miss Liz arose with a broad smile, saying. “Hello, and Merry Christmas to you all, it’s good to have you here. This is Crystal, the one I told you about. She is a bit further along with us and I thought it would be a good idea if you knew each other.”

Soon shooing away the kids, to go to the playroom with Kylee, the adults began the beginnings of a plan for Donna to recover from her most recent events and understand what brought her there. Miss Liz knew that facing up to long-practiced and frequent habits was going to be painful. Yet, there was confidence this young mother had the fortitude to endure.

Crystal and Donna “hit it off” from the very beginning. They had both borne children in their teenage years and had had bad relationships. Each coming from poor circumstances, Donna benefited from loving parents, while Crystal’s were mostly absent. Frequently, it had fallen to relatives to raise Crystal and her siblings.

“Yeah it has been tough,” Crystal related, “what with having the kids and no money, I got mixed up with drugs, the wrong crowd and spent some time in jail. Thank God I was able to keep my kids. Until I met Miss Liz last year, it seemed as though I could not do anything right and there was no way out. Now, I am on my way up and can see a great future.”

Over the coming days, each mother spent more and more time together. All of the kids seemed to get along, as their ages, experiences and dispositions blended well. Miss Liz was delighted, as this is what she had hoped; an example for Donna’s future and a hope for a better life.

As is often the case when people get to know each other, they start talking about what really matters. Some would say this is “letting your hair down.” One of the questions, for Donna, was the constant positiveness of her new friend. Every time they met, Crystal had a smile on her face and a gleam in her eye. It was more than just having the comforts of life; it was more of the inner confidence of peace within. Where did this come from?

On the Saturday before Christmas, Donna and the kids were asked to come to the Mission. Miss Liz was there with several envelopes; each had a name on the front. Inside, were gift certificates for new clothes at a local store. “Why,” said Miss Liz, “you can’t have Christmas without new clothes!” With grateful appreciations, Donna took the envelopes and quickly walked the several blocks, where the kids quickly chose their “couture.” Each child, close holding their precious gift, could not wait to share their blessings with their new friends.

After all of the hoopla settled down Donna, with a certain level of disbelief, asked Crystal how this could happen. Crystal replied, “She did it for my family last year, and I wanted to know too. What she told me it is like life, where you often need to take off the old clothes and put on the new. What I have learned is we spend an awful lot of time on how our exteriors look, but really need to spend most of our time on the interior. What I also learned is that we cannot do it alone.”

Crystal went on, “Giving in is not the same as giving up. There are times when I have told myself ‘I can handle it,’ when I can’t. It’s bigger than me.” After a pause, “There is somewhere I want you all to go with me on Monday night, and I will show you my answer.” Can you do it?

Monday was Christmas Eve, and the families climbed the steps into the church. Soon, Donna had her answer. It was a rather simple reply: trust yourself by trusting others and having faith in God. Yes, Donna had her setbacks and challenges, but as she learned, the strength to endure came from somewhere else. In her acceptance, it was as her personal rebirth; at the time of the birth of the Christ.

May you have a Blessed Christmas.