The Lesson of the Christmas Box

angel4“The first gift of Christmas was love. A parent’s love. Pure as the first snows of Christmas.”

― Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box

The month of December brings many holiday traditions. Depending on what you celebrate, this month is filled with tree lighting, lighting candles on the menorah, big feasts, special gifts and so much more. While I do observe some of these traditions, I do have one other tradition that may not be on your typical list. Every December I reread one of my favorite holiday stories –The Christmas Box.

The Christmas Box is a novel written by Richard Paul Evans. He had originally written the story as a gift for his family but the story was quickly passed from family member to friends and friends of friends and so on. Before he knew it the story was being mass produced and can now be purchased almost anywhere.

But there are lots of great Christmas stories to read every year, so you may be wondering why I choose this story.

For me, The Christmas Box is so much more than a Christmas story. It serves as a reminder of the importance of family. We wake up, send our children off to school, come home from work, give them dinner and then it’s off to bed. While this might not be the situation for everyone, it is for some. This is how it is for the main character in this story. While his wife is home taking care of their daughter, he is off to work everyday from early in the morning to late at night. The daughter is heartbroken that she doesn’t see her father.

But there’s more to the story. The father, mother and daughter move in to an old beautiful home to be the caretakers of an elderly woman who lives alone. She is at first a stranger to them but they quickly become friends. The woman holds a tragic secret that is revealed towards the end of the story – her only child passed away at the age of three.

I may not be a mother but I am a teacher of very young children. Each day I get to be in the presence of the purest and wisest souls. I’ve heard the stories from the parents of my students about how it took them so long to conceive and they were afraid it would never happen. I’ve heard their mournful cries after they miscarried. And I’ve had students tell me that they now had a brother or sister in heaven.

This is why this story means so much to me.

Children can be taken from us too quickly. The news is filled with stories of shootings in schools. All over the world there are wars and children of all ages are being killed everyday. And incurable illnesses can overcome them.

Our children are truly our most precious gift. This is the lesson of The Christmas Box. Sadly, parents have been losing their children since the beginning of time. We are reminded of this at Christmas when we think of the story of Jesus. Mary lost her son. Some can only imagine what she felt, others understand all too well.

Each year as I reread The Christmas Box I am reminded of a man I met a long time ago. One day when I was a teenager, my mother and I pulled up to a gas station to fill our car up. My mom rolled down her window and gave the man her credit card. He seemed to be in his forties and was quiet and polite. When he finished and returned the card he turned to my mom and said something that I’ll never forget — “Enjoy your time with your daughter.”

My mother and I drove home in silence, his words echoing in both our minds. We spoke about it later and wondered what inspired him to say this. Had this man lost his child?

Author Richard Paul Evans never expected his story of The Christmas Box to be a story of comfort for those who lost their children but that’s what it has become. So all over the country, angel statues are being built as a place for parents to go to so they could mourn their child. Every year on December 6th at 7pm parents who have lost their children will gather at the monument and place a single white flower in their child’s memory at the base. It’s my hope that someday we can raise enough money to have the Angel Statue here in Staten Island.

I have a wish for you this holiday season. Like the man said to my mother, please enjoy your time with your children. Read them a bedtime story. Laugh at their jokes. Hug them for no reason. Have dinner at the table – with no TV and no cell phones. Ask them about their day. Don’t feel frustrated if they only said they played. Be thankful that your child has an imagination. Let them believe in Santa Clause for another year. If they stopped believing, give them something else to believe in. I have and always will believe in magic. Show them it’s still real. And please, please tell them that you love them. I’m going to be thirty soon and still to this day, no one in my family will leave our house or hang up the phone without saying ‘I love you.’ Love is a powerful thing. It is the purest energy and the highest vibration in all creation. If there’s only one gift you can give your child this holiday season, let it be your unconditional love.

So join me tomorrow night, Sunday December 6th at 7pm in the lighting of a candle and lets have moment of silence for all the children of all ages that have been lost and for all the parents that continue to grieve. I pray that you can feel the angel wings of your child wrapped around you, not just during the holiday season but all through the year.

Sending love and light to you this holiday season,

Katrina

Want to learn more about the Angel Statues? Check out Richard Paul Evans website at http://efs.richardpaulevans.com/index.php/angel-statues/

Have any ideas on how to raise money for an angel statue or know anyone who is able to provide the land? E-mail me at kmcauliffe2@gmail.com and lets get it going!