A Song of Christmas Love
A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE
by Marilou F. Jackson
The Angels came to me in the night with a song, a song of Christmas love.
One year on December 7, a Thursday night, I went out with my family to complete my Christmas shopping. The bookstore was one of our stops. I passed a table filled with books on Angels. I stopped to look through them, and a book called Angelspeake found its way under my arm with all my other purchases. The next morning, instead of wrapping all my Christmas treasures, I found myself curled up in my chair reading Angelspeake. Next thing I knew, the morning was gone and I’d read the book cover to cover. I went about my normal day, thinking of nothing more serious than what we would have for supper.
I didn’t know how much my life would change in forty-eight hours. On Sunday morning around 2:00 a.m., I was awakened from a deep sleep with a song in my head. With the book fresh in my mind, I thought, "Could this be the Angels?" I decided to ask them questions. I had a small pad of paper and a pencil by my bed. I asked who my Guardian Angel was. The song continued. I tried to figure out what the music meant, when she spoke, "Don’t talk, listen. Let your head clear." The Angels really were trying to talk to me! All of a sudden, I became frightened and began to pray. The next thing I heard was, "Way to go!"
I felt touched but not quite sure what purpose the incident served other than to let me know Angels are really here. The next morning around 3:00 a.m., I was again awakened to hear the song and the words, "Busy, too busy." I said again, "I’m trying to understand the song." "Love at Christmas," they responded. What could they want of me? "Love at Christmas" and "homeless" were their messages.
They didn’t speak in complete sentences, just words, thoughts, pictures, and music. "Give Love on Christmas Day!" and again, "Give Love on Christmas Day!" then "homeless" and "We all have something to be thankful for" and "Thousands of streets are full of hungry people." I was getting the message! "So what do you think I can do about it?" I asked. "It’s just fourteen days till Christmas. I work retail and there are no hours left in the day."
The next morning I got up and read what I’d written the night before. My notes said, "Call Barbara." Barbara—the author of Angelspeake? I called directory assistance and much to my amazement, they gave me her number. I dialed, a woman answered, and I said, "Hello, my name is Mari. Are you Barbara Mark, the Barbara Mark who wrote Angelspeake?" She said, "Yes." At this point, the tears poured down my face. I proceeded to tell her of my encounter with the Angels, and we talked for an hour. I felt as though I was talking to family. She wanted to know what the Angels said. I told her they wanted me to feed the homeless on Christmas Day. I asked her how she thought I was to do this. She assured me the Angels would show me if I asked enough questions. She said at the end of our conversation, "So what are you going to do?" I answered, "What can I do? I have to find a way to feed the homeless."
Again the next night, at 2:45 a.m., I was awakened with "Pay attention." They did give me more information—about making stockings, filling them with food, oranges, candy canes, toothbrushes, and soap to help the homeless remember the joy of being children on Christmas morning. I asked how to make this happen and they said, "Ask for help."
I’m such an independent person that I’m not used to asking for help. But, I thought, this time I didn’t see any other way. When I got up, I started cutting out stockings from my extra cache of fabric. The scissors were making blisters on my knuckles, and from nowhere came the words, "Don’t you have oil?" I was sure I was on the right path even if I wasn’t quite sure where I was going. I asked my colleagues at work for help. All of my coworkers eagerly agreed to help fill the empty socks, even when I told them it was an Angel project. Well, that seemed easy enough—now I just needed to finish cutting and sewing 200 stockings! I asked my husband to take some stockings to work and ask for help to fill them. He came back to me and asked me for more stockings to fill. I asked for help from people at the coffee shop where I stop on my way to work. They filled all their stockings and asked for more. I asked the chiropractor’s office. They not only helped, but asked for more. I asked the people where I used to work. They helped, and then they wanted to do more. I was overwhelmed with the response.
Every night the Angels came to me. One night, exhausted, I asked, "Why do you wake me in the middle of the night?" "It’s the only time you’ll listen," was the reply. I realized then maybe I am "busy, too busy" to hear them during the day.
The food part of the project was going well, but just thinking about the toothbrushes and soap and other items made me worry that maybe this project was getting out of hand. I asked the Angels where I should go to get these items at a reasonable rate. "The hospital," was the reply. So, the next morning I called the hospital and asked to speak to someone in Supplies. A very nice man directed me to Dave from the supply company that sells toothbrushes to the hospital. When I finally reached Dave, I explained my project to him and asked about the toothbrushes. He said he would donate them. What a relief! I would get 200 toothbrushes at no charge.
Still on my mind was the soap. My husband said that in a city as large as Las Vegas, with all its hotels, getting soap shouldn’t be a problem. He asked Arizona Charlies. They responded saying they needed a letter stating what our cause was. I wrote the letter, and the next day I had not only 200 bars of soap but lotion and shampoo as well! And, when I went back to pick up the toothbrushes, there were not the 200 I was expecting but more than 2,000! God was really watching over this project.
Finally, I wondered, how can we help these people help themselves? In my first conversation with Barbara, she gave me permission to use her book to help with the project. I copied the page that tells how the Angels will help you if you ask, reduced it to a 3 x 5 card, and attached one with a ribbon to each of the stockings.
Christmas morning, at 7:45, everyone met at our appointed spot. All of our helpers brought family members to assist. We loaded all the stockings into the back of a volunteer’s truck and headed for the freeway underpasses of Las Vegas. Under some of them, homeless people were still asleep with blankets pulled over their heads, trying to keep out the cold. Near the road in old shopping carts were all their belongings in the world—nothing compared to what we call "nothing." We quietly left the stockings, candy canes, and bottled water. I wished I could have been there when they woke up, but we had much more to do. I felt like Santa must feel, helping in the dark and quiet with the only reward coming from his own heart.
One large intersection had a lot of men living under it. We left stockings, candy canes, and quarters with a brief message that I shouted out to the men, now starting to stir: "Please call home. Someone does care and wants to know you’re all right." One man shouted back, "God bless you!" As we left, we could see them starting to rise, excited by our visit. We stopped in the middle of the intersection to watch as one of the men came down and got the stockings and, like an excited child, started delivering them to his friends.
We got in our cars and headed off to our next stop. When we stopped at the traffic light, we saw a sight I will not forget as long as I live—all of the men were sitting up and poring through the contents of their stockings. We then headed downtown in search of a shanty village I had seen weeks before. I found the lot but it was vacant and clean. I guess someone didn’t want them there. We pulled through St. Vincent’s shelter, where there were just a few men. We were not sure if they worked there or if they were homeless. We came close to leaving when a few men approached us. We gave them stockings and quarters with the same "Please call home; someone cares" message.
I don’t know where all the people suddenly came from. Three people had turned into thirty. A family crossed the street from nowhere—a father and mother and three little girls. A very young couple came up with a baby stroller. We gave them three stockings and two quarters. The woman turned to her husband and said, "We can call your mom now."
We still had places to go, but we dropped off extra supplies with the security guard at St. Vincent’s and left five stockings next to the light pole for others who might walk by. We then headed off once again in search of those in need. As we were driving, we saw a man asleep on a bus bench. We pulled over, and quietly placed a stocking next to the sleeping man. Next, we headed to the Salvation Army kitchen. By now it was 10:15, and there were lots of people. We asked the guard’s permission and gave him the blankets we had collected and 1,000 toothbrushes, and then we started to hand out stockings.
The people we saw—of all ages, all sizes, from all walks of life—found themselves homeless this Christmas for as many reasons as there are people. They were so thankful for the little we did. For most, it was all they received for Christmas. As we drove away, I watched a lonely older woman as she sat on the curb and started to remove the rubber band from her stocking and read the card about talking to your Angels. We touched so many lives that Christmas morning, and they touched us back.
In the car on our way back, my husband
and I talked about next year. If we started right then, we thought, how
many more stockings could we hand out next Christmas? And, we wondered,
what can we do to help all year long? We talked about how easy it is in
today’s society to become homeless. Many people live week to week, month
to month. It could happen to any of us. We need to be thankful for all
that we have. Christmas is a
gift, a time to give love to all. Angels touch our world every day, not
just at Christmas time. If you’re willing to listen, they’ll touch
your life too. I’m sure they are not done yet.