Christmas memories: Carolers at the door
Sometimes, all it takes is hearing "Silent Night" on the car radio or smelling balsam needles in a warm living room to trigger the memories of Christmas past. What brings memories back for you? We asked area residents for favorite Christmas memories, and all this week, we'll run a story each day on the website.
Karen McClellan, associate director of Mount Zion House for Women, located in Elkhorn, and a Volunteer Connections board member, helped someone in need weeks before Christmas one year, but then suddenly found herself struggling to get by:
“It was a cold, snowy, dismal day at work. We had just received our paychecks and I knew once bills were paid and gas was put in my car for the following week, I had $40 left to my name. Shortly after we received our checks, I remember a gal coming around asking for money to help the less fortunate with any donations we could spare. It was the week before Thanksgiving. Forty dollars sure wasn't going to buy my four children and myself much of anything, so I cashed my check and gave the $40 to help out whoever the family was that it was going to. After all, I was blessed enough to have my parents living right down the road and I had a place to go for Thanksgiving. My whole family would be there! Who knew what situation this family might be in? I couldn't imagine.
“The following Wednesday evening, the doorbell rang. I opened the door to a group of Christmas carolers who handed me two huge boxes of food. They said they were from a neighboring church and had heard that we could use some help for the holidays. I was in tears. Here I had just given up my last $40 to help someone in need and I was being given a gift worth much more than that.
"My financial circumstances were much worse by the time Christmas came around. I had been very sick and missed a lot of work. We couldn't afford a tree, but we found a top of a silver Christmas tree in a dumpster that became our table top tree for the season.
“On December 23 the very same group that came and blessed us on Thanksgiving showed up once again singing their beautiful carols with two more boxes of food for Christmas dinner and five beautifully wrapped gifts for each of us. Jesus promises us that if we give, He will open the floodgates of heaven and pour down blessing on us.The floodgates were open and the blessings reigned down. It was a beautiful and blessed Christmas and one we will never forget. Who knew Santa would show up in the form of a church youth group? Thank you Jesus, and Happy Birthday!”