Every holiday season I help unpack our decorations and I remember the wonderful welcome we received after moving into a new neighborhood.
Both my wife and I grew up in other regions of the country and we really didn’t know anyone close by. One evening in December, the doorbell rang and when we answered it there was a lovely wooden nativity manger with a nice, unsigned note attached. Of course we were pleased but didn’t know that this was just the beginning. Each evening, the doorbell would ring, and again we would find a treat along with another piece of the nativity set. For twelve days this went on, and the anticipation grew each night. My children could hardly wait to see what piece was next—a shepherd, an animal or, maybe Joseph or Mary? Finally on Christmas Eve we were only missing baby Jesus to complete the set. When the doorbell rang, my children raced to the door to get “the prize” and see who had been doing this kind act. We expected caroling and were even ready with hot chocolate for our new friends. Instead, we found a beautifully wrapped baby Jesus along with a pan of cinnamon rolls for the next morning.
After fifteen years of living in this neighborhood, no one has ever admitted that they were our Christmas elves. Although I would love to thank them, I secretly love that we don’t know who it was because now the set simply represents kindness, love and pure giving. Even now, the “anonymous welcome, ” nativity set receives the place of honor on our dining room table because all we need to do is glance at it and we are quickly reminded of the true meaning of the holidays.