The year was 2004 and it was our first Christmas at Oak Bridge Community Church. Pastor Tom spoke about a program called Christmas Angel where for 12 days before Christmas you pick someone and drop a gift off and run. On night one it was one of something, night two, two of something etc. The key was to not get caught and choose someone who was going through a rough time or needed a lift at Christmas. Our first angel came immediately to my mind and we bought all the gifts. We had a great time that year and on the eleventh day we were left cookies and a poem. The poem is in the family scrapbook. Over the years we have sometimes done two people. Twice the work but twice the reward.
This year my Christmas angel came to me in mid July while at work. I walked into angel #19 room and I knew she was the one. It’s just a feeling I had and I looked up her address later that night. She lived fairly close and I thought score. I knew she would need chemo therapy first and then surgery. Based on the dates I knew surgery would be close to Halloween. Her original surgery date was scheduled for a day I was off work. I had the supervisor change my schedule so I would be at work. The next week I discovered her surgery had been moved to the week of Halloween. I of course was in Disney.
The night before this was to start I read a friends Facebook post and I hadn’t even finished it when I felt God say do her as well. I was like are you kidding this starts tomorrow night and I’m heading into work. However my after work plans got cancelled so I went to the store and actually managed to find all twelve days in one visit. This rarely happens because odd days are tough. I work with this girl so I asked our supervisor for her address. She did not live anywhere close to my other girl or me for that matter. The next night it was game on.
I worked the first night but ran home to pick up Allyson. I needed help locating the houses. Allyson looks over at me and says what if they have a porch camera. That triggered an entire new wave of paranoia. I knew my friend would recognize me and wasn’t sure about the patient. So on the nights I did it, I wore this.
I was not taking any chances of getting caught. The friend’s house always had something crazy going on. One day a car was parked in the driveway with the headlights on. Another day the car door was open but no one around. The best night I get out of the car and someone is calling their dog. I’m not sure if it’s them or not so I get back in. I get back out and someone comes out the door of the house and hops in the car. I get back in and try to act causal.
The patients house was quite interesting. On the third day they put up an inflatable Christmas duck. Allyson came back and said be careful there are wires everywhere and I don’t want you to trip and fall. Also if you walked in front of the garage the super power light would flash on. I finally got smart and walked on the other side of the street and hit the doorbell from the opposite side of the porch. It was day eight that I was almost caught. As I am sprinting away I hear this “who are you?” It scared the crap out of me and I didn’t know what the rules were so I kept running and yelled “can’t tell you” without turning around. I decided it would be nice to write on day nine note “I will reveal who I am and why you were chosen on Christmas Eve (day 12). If you are not home I will leave a note with the day twelve gift. Now according to church you are not to reveal yourself ever. However, if someone angeled me and never told me it would make me crazier than I already am. So I usually place a note on day twelve, ring the bell and run.
Day ten arrives and it dawns on me that I don’t think my friend lives at the address I’m dropping gifts off at. So I get home that night and get on Facebook and start looking at her recent pictures. Sure enough it looks like she is living in an apartment and then I remember a post about her dishwasher breaking in a brand new apartment. So I then found her maiden name and found her parents address which matched the gift drop off location. I also looked her up by her married name and an apartment address was revealed.
I told a couple of people about the wrong address and they asked what are you doing to do? I said I’m going to drop off day eleven and twelve like I had planned as there is a reason God told me to do this. In the meantime Allyson and I decided that we would also stop on day twelve and see my friend who we thought we were dropping the gifts off for. I sent her a message asking for her address to confirm the white pages were correct.
So today was day twelve and only the second time I have ever knocked on the door and waited for the people to answer. I was a nervous wreck waiting for the girl who almost caught me. They invited me in and then asked who I was. So they kind of remembered me as the nurse after I dropped a few reminders. They said they eliminated all their family and friends and couldn’t think of anyone else. They did decide that mercy had way too many patients for it to be them. (Also Mercy could not do this because of the stark law, they aren’t allowed to give any thing to a patient more than ten bucks). Apparently it was driving her crazy who it was and so the day she got the note she showed her sister. She called and texted people every night about what gift she received. As I was leaving I noticed the Christmas ornament from day one hanging on the front door and she said it was there the entire time. I said I was so paranoid about being caught I never noticed. It made their entire Christmas and gave them something to look forward to. They also gave me a gift which was not expected or necessary. I accept gifts almost as well as hugs. However this is beautiful and if I would have put a tree up this year I would have hung it on there the minute I got home.
Next stop was the apartment. I asked if she knew it was me and said not until I posted about trying to do something nice and it turning into a comedy. That made her kind of suspect me. Her parents and she wondered if it was supposed to be for her based on the gifts. She has a five-year old so I had a blast finding stuff for kids. My favorite was day one, it was a gingerbread bat cave and bat car. She told me her son would call grandma every night and ask what the angel left. It brought her parents closer together. After we saw her we did our last drop and run at her parents house and I left them my note about who I was and the story.
And as we were driving away I realized I experienced what this is all about. To show people love and kindness during what can be a stressful time. Yes Allyson and I would leave the house knowing we wouldn’t be back for at least two hours. All kinds of crazy stuff happened, like almost getting caught, seeing a deer on the sidewalk, driving around the block three and four times till the front was clear, getting out of work late every single time causing me to barely make it to second house before nine. However all kinds of cool stuff happened too. Allyson and I debated blonde Oreos vs chocolate. I ate these yummy white chocolate peppermint covered thin pretzels almost every night. Allyson got to meet someone she had always wanted to meet and wrote him a huge letter. She had a story to tell! But the greatest part of all was being able to see what a little bit of kindness made such a huge impact. I give up as I cannot find words to describe it. I would encourage every single person reading this to do this just one Christmas. It is the part of Christmas we most look forward to. We have family memories that will last forever. I will do this until I can no longer run fast enough not to get caught.
Mole moral ~ If you move please notify your employer, you never know who might need your address or why.