It was Christmas Eve last year, and oh, how I had dreaded
its arrival. I knew I shouldn’t feel that way, but the silence inside my house
was unbearable. My only company was the television, and most shows didn’t hold
my interest long. I had my daily Bible reading and my prayers, too, and I tried
not to think about the past.
However, when the Christmas season arrived, I couldn’t help
thinking about the happier times of Christmases past. Then I thought about
earlier that year, in spring, when my husband, Ted, went to be with the Lord.
Ours had been a good marriage, and what made losing Ted even more difficult was
that most of the family on his side and mine were all gone as well.
It was my first lonely Christmas without Ted, and the only
decoration I put out was the Nativity scene, which I displayed on the dining
room table where my family had once gathered in happy excitement, surrounded by
good food, love and laughter.
I hadn’t forgotten that the true meaning of Christmas was to
celebrate our Lord’s birthday. In my heart, I was happy I had a Lord and Savior
who cared for me and was always there for me, but I had such a yearning for
someone to love and hug on that Christmas Eve.
“God, please help me cope with my loneliness,” I prayed as I
stood at my front window in the late afternoon and gazed out past the front
yard to the street.
The Good Deed
I looked across to my neighbors’ house. Patrick and Desarae
McDonnell had a young son, Aiden, and a teenage daughter, Alyssa. I could see
their Christmas tree decorated with colorful ornaments and bright lights. In my
imagination, I heard the happy sounds of family love as they sat down to
Christmas Eve dinner.
Suddenly the doorbell rang. I opened it to find Aiden
McDonnell standing there.
“Merry Christmas, Mrs. Adams,” Aiden said, grinning happily
as he held a little black Scottie. Then, with his free hand, he offered me a
plate wrapped in foil. “Mom wanted to share some of our Christmas Eve dinner
with you, She hopes you’ll enjoy it.”
“Why, thank you, Aiden!” I said, holding the warm paper
plate smelling of delicious food. “How thoughtful of your mother! Give her a
big hug for me.”
“I guess Mom told you Molly, our Scottie dog, had three puppies a few months
ago. It’s too many puppies for us. We thought maybe you might like to have this
little guy to keep you company. We call him Mac, short for MacDonald, a good
“Oh, Aiden, he’s precious,” I said softly, as Aiden put the
squirming puppy in my arms. “How kind of you all! I’d love to have Mac.” Tears
filled my eyes as I added, “Thank you for thinking of me. Please take some
homemade oatmeal-raisin cookies to your family.”
“Thanks, and Mom told me to tell you she hopes you’ll have
Christmas dinner with us about 2 o’clock. I’ll come over and get you,” Aiden
This time a few tears escaped and rolled down my cheeks.
Aiden tried to avoid my eyes, but I’m sure he saw them. I gave him a quick hug
and said, “Tell your mother thank you for the invitation. I’ll look forward to
With a plate of cookies in his hands, Aiden crossed the
yard, then turned, waved and said again, “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Adams.”
“Merry Christmas, and thank you all again,” I said, as a
squirming Mac wriggled in my arms. I closed the door, looked at my precious
gift and said, “And I love you, too, Mac,”
Then I said a thank you to God for answering my prayer. He,
through my wonderful and caring neighbors, gave me a puppy to love and hug.
Mac and I are great friends. He keeps me busy and active as
I follow him around the house and take him out for exercise – and, yes, he’s
spoiled, just as he should be.
My friends, the McDonnells, are always checking in on me,
and I’ve not had an attack of loneliness again. I’ll never forget that happy
Christmas Eve when God answered my prayers through the McDonnells, as they
blessed me with neighborly love.
more tales of generosity by CAPPER's readers in Stories of Helping Others.