Daily Archives: November 24, 2012
The Secret Christmas Wish
By Amber Leggette-Aldrich
It was early Christmas morning in 1968. I rushed out to the living room to see if my father was there. I had made a secret Christmas wish that Santa would bring him home that year. It had been so long since I had seen him and I was afraid that he had forgotten me. To know that he still loved me was the only thing I truly wanted for Christmas.
I tried my best not to show my disappointment. My mother did her absolute best to get a few nice gifts for me. But I didn’t tell her about my secret wish. It always made her cry to see how much I missed my father.
Thirty four years went by before my broken heart was healed after a caring soul taught me about Jesus. I was finally able to forgive my father for not being there for me. It was truly one of the most precious gifts I could have received. Without Jesus and the Gospel, that would never have happened.
One of the first things I learned after my own heart was healed was about reaching out to others that are hurting. The book of James has become one of my favorite books of the Bible. James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. “
Angel Tree is an organization that applies this biblical truth through reaching out to children of inmates and their parents. They help these inmates to reach out to their children, helping them to stay connected through providing a Christmas gift. Without their help, many of these children will experience a lonely and painful time, instead of sharing in the wonderful love that Christmas is all about.
Angel Tree is a part of the Prison Fellowship Organization. It was started 30 years ago by an ex-inmate, Mary Kay Beard. She started with 1 tree and 100 paper angels. Each angel represented a child of an inmate with a desired gift for that child. People took the angels from the tree and bought the gifts listed on them for the children and gave them on behalf of the incarcerated parent. Today over 9 million children have received an Angel Tree gift.
When I first heard about Angel Tree and what they do, I knew in my heart that God was giving me an opportunity to reach out with His love to help someone else that was hurting. To be able to give a child a simple gift and let them know they are loved is its own reward. To be able to share God’s Truth with them and their family is a priceless treasure. It could very well be the key to changing lives and healing broken hearts.
I now have a new Christmas wish. My wish is that no child will wake up wondering if their father or mother has forgotten them or if they are still loved. Won’t you join me by partnering with Angel Tree to help make this wish come true? Together we can make a difference. Donate now and give a gift of true love.
For more information on Angel Tree and how you can help visit http://www.prisonfellowship.org/programs/angel-tree/
Moments and Memories
By Amber Leggette-Aldrich
On Thursday as we gathered around giving thanks for our Thanksgiving dinner, my mind was filled with memories of all the people I have loved over the years. My thoughts drifted on to loved ones that have passed.
I’ve learned over and over again how quickly life can come to an end, suddenly and without warning, it’s gone. Sometimes we don’t get a chance to say goodbye. There is pain in losing a loved one, but there can also be joy in remembering the love shared.
I received the following poem the day after my oldest son Jason passed away in 2002. It was circulating the internet at the time as a tribute by an unknown author to the victims of the 9-11 attacks on America. Upon further research I discovered the author’s name was Norma Cornett Marek and that she had actually written this poem in 1989 in memory of a lost loved one.
The words of this poem struck very deeply into my heart when I first read them, and 10 years later they still affect me. I am reminded again that it is the moments that we don’t share that become regrets. The moments of love that we do share become the memories that will bring joy and comfort. Never pass up the opportunities that God gives you to share your love with others.
If tomorrow never comes…
If I knew it would be the last time that I’d see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly, and pray the Lord your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time that I’d see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss, and call you back for just one more.
If I knew it would be the last time I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would tape each word and action, and play them back throughout my days
If I knew it would be the last time, I would spare an extra minute or two,
To stop and say “I love you,” instead of assuming you know I do.
So just in case tomorrow never comes, and today is all I get,
I’d like to say how much I love you, and I hope we never will forget.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.
So if you’re waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes, you’ll surely regret the day
That you didn’t take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss,
And you were too busy to grant someone, what turned out to be their one last wish.
So hold your loved ones close today, and whisper in their ear,
That you love them very much, and you’ll always hold them dear.
Take time to say “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,” “thank you” or “it’s okay”.
And if tomorrow never comes, you’ll have no regrets about today.
© Norma Cornett Marek ~ 1989
When I contacted Mrs. Marek back in 2002, she kindly granted permission to share her poem, providing proper credit be given.
Norma Marek suffered a massive stroke in 2002, then lost her battle with cancer in July 2004. But before she passed away, she had written many inspirational poems. A book of her poetry was compiled titled “Whispers from the Heart”. I have not been able to locate a current link to purchase the book, but I did find a link to some of her individual works. http://www.heartwhispers.net/
For those that have gone on, may our memories bring us joy in times remembered. For those still present, let us always grab hold of the moments we have and turn them into precious treasures.