A Christmas Reminder

Shrinking sales sliced my husband’s commission income in half. We trimmed luxury items from the family budget. That meant going without my favorite cologne until business improved. I drained the last bottle a few weeks before the Christmas season. We earmarked spare pennies for gifts for the kids, food and holiday travel. My husband, Doug, and I decided to forego buying gifts for each other.

A few months before Christmas, Helen began attending our church. I introduced myself and found she had emigrated from Poland at the end of the Second World War, leaving all family members behind. At 63, without children, relatives or husband, she filled her days with prayer and Bible reading. Helen sat alone in church each Sunday, her need for friendship obvious. On the Monday before Christmas, I arranged a luncheon at my home for a few older women from church. I invited Helen, hoping she would make friends.

Helen arrived for the lunch with a hostess gift –a plate of Christmas baking and a small wrapped package, chocolates I assumed. During our afternoon visit, Helen told the others about her journey to Canada, which included a two-year stopover in Germany. Ilse, another guest, originally from Germany, remembered the transition camp where Helen had lived. A bond developed between them.

My guests listened in wonder as Helen told how she recently came to know Jesus alone in her bedroom while reading a Gideon Bible. Others shared their stories of hardship and God’s faithfulness. Hours passed without a lull in conversation. New friendships blossomed.

The women left my home late in the afternoon. I hurriedly prepared a meal for my family. After dinner, clean-up completed, I remembered the little beribboned box from Helen. I opened it expecting to enjoy a delicious chocolate with a relaxing cup of tea. Instead, I unwrapped a bottle of my favorite fragrance. I stared at it wondering how Helen knew of my preference for that particular cologne. Even my husband, who had purchased it several times, couldn’t remember its name. Helen hadn’t visited my home before that day and our short conversations hadn’t touched the subject of cologne.

I phoned to thank her for the gift. “How did you know that was favorite cologne?” I asked.

She told how she’d been shopping in a large department store, walking back and forth amongst dozens of bottles at the perfume counter. “I simply asked Jesus to show me which one to buy for you,” she said. “And He led me to that one.”

That day in the department store, God shared a little secret about me with Helen. Nothing is hidden from Him. And, from time to time, he reveals our needs and desires to others. The cologne wasn’t a need, it was an icing on the cake kind of gift. I dabbed a little behind my ears and basked in the aroma of God’s love.

Helen’s gift was a reminder that when challenges come I might think he’s forgotten my name and address but He even remembers my preferred brand of cologne.


About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at: http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com
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12 Responses to A Christmas Reminder

  1. I love your story Rose. The reality of the indwelling Holy Spirit is amazing and it’s so precious when God so clearly reveals it to us. Such a lovely gift.

  2. ardsley19 says:

    I just read this, Rose. Reading this story has lifted me out of my doldrums. I’m not sure why. Maybe just the reminder that I can ask God for desires as well as needs. And, also, to reach out to others, as you did. If you hadn’t put on the little party, if you hadn’t invited Helen she would not have been looking for a gift for you. Not that that should be a reason to reach out, but as you said, God sometimes gives us icing on our cake.

    • Diana – so happy to hear that this little story encouraged you today. It’s good for me to remember and write about the good things that God has done for me. To know that it touched your heart is “icing on the cake.”

  3. Anonymous says:

    I love reading your post’s Rose. They are so real and comforting. Thank you.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great story Rose,I remember Helen,She was a very sweet Lady…God is Good

  5. Joan says:

    I love this story, Rose. Our God cares about everything that affects us — not just the outwardly “spiritual” things, but the little things that make us feel cared for.

  6. Darlene says:

    Oh Rose, that touched a real chord in my heart today. We often forget how personal our God is and Helen had such simple faith and never doubted that He would direct her.

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