Light wavered through the aged window when Cheryl turned over on the lumpy mattress. She padded to the living room. The lone clock on the wall read six o'clock.
For the hundredth time since they'd become homeless, she wondered how they would get through the day. Reading the Christmas story would take a while since the kids always liked to act out the parts. A Christmas movie from the library would add another hour or two, but unwrapping the new crayons and coloring books would only take a few minutes. The refrigerator had a little food; however, it wasn't a traditional Christmas menu.
Suddenly, a note slid under the door. It read:
Please come to the commons area as soon as you get this. We have some good news for you.
The mission director Lisa Garrison had signed it. Cheryl dressed and quickly slipped out before her three kids woke up.
Lisa was waiting. "Cheryl, I'm glad you're up. I realized that since you all just moved in yesterday, you probably don't know that we're having Christmas lunch at about one. All of the residents are invited and many are going to help."
"But I don't have any food to offer."
"Food has been donated, and everyone is pitching in to make sure it gets cooked. Kathy Rose from Apartment 2 is in charge. She'll be getting started about 10:00 here. Also, I have some things for you. Most of our families had churches that adopted them. Since you all missed that . . ."
Cheryl interrupted her, "I know. That's why I bought the kids some crayons and coloring books so they would have something to open."
"Cheryl, just because a church didn't adopt you doesn't mean that you don't get anything. Someone on our board adopted you, but the gifts just arrived. I can help you carry them into your apartment."
"Well surely I can carry three presents."
"What do you mean three presents, this whole pile is yours" Lisa gestured to a pile of gifts that Cheryl hadn't seen before.
Cheryl gasped "All of it!"
"Yes all of it, and we'd better get it in your apartment before the kids wake up."
They quietly snuck everything into the apartment and hid it in the closet. Then Cheryl crawled back into bed to wait. She had almost drifted back to sleep when she heard John and Tommy whispering at the end of her bed. "Janie get up; it's Christmas morning. We're going to make cereal for Mom so she can have breakfast in bed." Janie crawled out of the end of the bed she shared with Cheryl.
A few minutes later, the light snapped on and three smiling faces said "Merry Christmas!"
Cheryl sat up smiling and accepted her bowl of cereal. "Thank you for bringing me breakfast in bed."
"We wanted to give you something for Christmas."
"I can't think of a better present." They sat on the bed and savored their cereal.
Janie said "Let's go read the Christmas story!" They snuggled on the couch, the only surface to sit on in the room.
When they were done, she sent John to peek in the closet. He screamed and drug out gift after gift. Everyone had clothes and books. The kids had toys, and movies, and Cheryl had a gift certificate for a day at the spa along with free babysitting.
They barely had time to clean up before it was time to go help with Christmas lunch, which ended up lasting more than six hours. After the hectic, fun filled afternoon, The kids were content to watch one of their new movies.
As Cheryl made ham sandwiches for supper, she started praying "God, how could I have doubted you? Through all of this, you have taken care of us. You have given us more than I could ever have imagined. Help me to be grateful and to continue to know that you're in control. Amen."
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