The Christmas season has always been a very busy time for me, which makes me no different from anyone else in the world. I always had my family to attend to, my shopping to do, decorations to place, and Christmas dinner to cook. In addition to this, I had full-time career obligations; so yes, I was no different than anyone else.
But then, in the year 2004, my world came crashing down. I became so ill that I was no longer able to work. My career ended, and my life changed forever. I was no longer the vibrant, busy, full-time working wife and mother. I became the disabled wife and mother, and because of this, everything changed, including Christmas.
I could no longer do all the Christmas shopping that I was used to doing; I could barely get out of bed. For the first time in our married life, I had to trust all the precious Christmas shopping to my husband. Now this was indeed a difficult task to accomplish. The thought of turning over the shopping to my husband made me shudder.
Women know that men just do not take the same amount of loving care that women do when it comes to shopping. If your husband is anything like my husband, he tends to wait until the last minute to go Christmas shopping. I was worried, to say the least.
I was also so worried about the decorations. I always had placed all the decorations with such tender loving care. Of course, all of our children helped with placing the ornaments on the Christmas tree, but after it was all said and done, when they went to bed, I usually rearranged the ornaments so they were perfectly placed. I always wanted our decorations to be spot-on perfect.
Then there was the Christmas dinner. Who was going to cook it? Who was going to make the special family recipe for scalloped potatoes? Who was going to make the glazed baby carrots? Who was going to make sure that the ham didn't dry out?
I carried so many burdens that Christmas. I was so concerned about Christmas not being perfect that I almost missed the real significance of the season that year, until one day when I received an unexpected surprise.
It was a Friday afternoon while the kids were still at school, and my husband was at work. The snow was coming down in big, beautiful, puffy snowflakes. The news predicted the snowfall was going to turn into a winter storm before the evening, but there would be time enough for the kids and my husband to arrive home safely. There were five days left before Christmas.
I was lying on the sofa with my little toy poodle in my lap, watching an old movie when my front doorbell rang. I thought that perhaps it was the mailman bringing a package. I peeked out my window, but all I could see was a blue van in front of the house. I opened my door, and standing on our step was a young man holding a big, brown, paper package.
"I have a package for Cindy Knapper."
"Thank you," I said, as I opened the door and eagerly took the package from him.
"Merry Christmas," he smiled.
"Merry Christmas." I closed the door.
I brought the package into the house and placed it on the kitchen table to examine it. It was a simple large brown paper bag with no markings on it whatsoever. The top was folded over, with a plain white card stapled to it that had my name written on it. There was no indication as to whom it was from.
I opened the bag and inside was the most beautiful poinsettia plant I have ever seen. It wasn't a red poinsettia plant, but it was pale pink and cream, and the blooms were fresh and large. Still inside, there was no card as to whom had sent the beautiful plant.
I placed the plant on the coffee table next to the sofa where I was lying. I called my husband to thank him for the plant, but he insisted that he didn't send it.
I made several inquiries as to whom could have sent me the plant, including some people from church, but I never did find out who was responsible.
However, the way this plant made me feel was remarkable. My heart felt lighter. It was as though my own little Christmas miracle had occurred. That plant was just the exact right thing I needed at just the exact right time I needed it. It was indeed a blessing to my life. I felt special, and not knowing who sent it to me made it even more special.
As for the rest of my worries -- the shopping, the decorations, the dinner -- they were needless worries. Everything turned out even better than perhaps if I had done them myself. It filled my heart with joy to watch my family pitch in and take over the duties I could not perform any longer.
But the mystery of the Christmas poinsettia will always remain near and dear to my heart; and whenever I need a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas, I think about that poinsettia, and remember that Christmas is about giving to someone you love.