I was asked to speak in church this past Sunday. I may as well been told the end of the world was near. You see, I don't particularly like to talk in church, but I do it anyway. Kind of a type of self torture, I guess. But I told this story in my talk and decided that it would make a good blog post. And since I haven't written a whole lot lately I figured I would post what I have written. So to those of you who didn't have to hear me in person, you get to read it minus my shaky chipmunk voice and trembling hands. And to those of you who suffered through it already, I'm sorry and God bless you.
When I was growing up our family had a paper route which had to be completed every day, even on Christmas. I should say especially on Christmas, as the papers were very large due to the fact that they were stuffed with the ads for the sales to occur the following day.
The massive amounts of ads caused the paper to be delivered in two parts requiring us to assemble the paper before trying to stretch a wimpy rubber band around the massive girth of those Christmas papers. Needless to say, many a rubber band broke making the delivery process even more tedious and lengthy.
Oh, how I loathed delivering those papers on Christmas morning.
It wasn’t just the process of getting the papers delivered, but the fact that we couldn’t open any packages or see any of our Christmas until all of the papers were done. The time came that the paper route became my responsibility after being passed down through all of my brothers and after 6 years of helping, I would be delivering the Christmas morning papers alone.
I dreaded the very thought.
Christmas morning came and I could hear my parents upstairs rustling around and I knew that soon they would be coming for me. So true to the lazy teenager that I was, I pulled my covers up closer around me, clinging to the warmth and comfort that my bed offered and quickly drifted back to sleep.
When I woke up some time later, knowing that my parents usually woke us around 6:00, I put off looking at the clock not wanting know the minutes left before the impending doom would occur. And that’s when it dawned on me that the light beyond my closed eyelids was a little too bright for 6am. I stole an glance at the clock- it was 9:06! The papers were late!
I rushed upstairs questioning my mom along the way.
“Where are the papers? How come you didn’t get me up sooner?”
My mother just smiled and said, “Merry Christmas! We got you a sub.”
Over the years, I have been asked about the best present I have ever received and to this day it remains the time my parents arranged a sub on Christmas morning for my paper route. This gift was nothing concrete that I could hold in my hands and only lasted the length of a morning, but the feeling and sentiment behind what others hands had done for me that morning has stuck with me for the last 20 years.