A Christmas Secret

unwrapping-giftA 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 cologne bottlemy 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.


book coverHelen’s gift was a reminder that when challenges come I might thinkcover One Good Word 2 He’s forgotten my name and address but He even remembers my preferred brand of cologne.Rose McCormick Brandon is the author of four books, including One Good Word Makes all the Difference and Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children. Visit her website at: writingfromtheheart.webs.com and her blogs Promises of Home and Listening to my Hair Grow.


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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9 Responses to A Christmas Secret

  1. Dianne DiFabio says:

    Wow Rose, what a wonderful story. It brought tears to my eyes, and joy to my heart, as I was again reminded of the awesome power of our Saviour. Rose your part in this story is wonderful, as none of this could have happened unless you listened to that “still small voice” that prompts us. Bless you my friend!

  2. glynism says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for reminding me of how God is in the details. Lovely.

  3. Mary Haskett says:

    I don’t very often comment, but I enjoy your posts.
    God bless you.

  4. Joan says:

    I love this story! Not surprising that Helen had learned to listen for the Lord’s secrets, since she “filled her days with prayer and Bible reading.”

    Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Merry Christmas and thanks for your wit and wisdom. I really enjoy your posts, but the name of your blog puzzles me because it doesn’t capture your beautiful writing! What am I missing???

    • Elaine – glad you enjoy my posts. The name of my blog, Listening to my Hair Grow, is the title of a piece I wrote a few years ago that won an award for best personal writing. When we “listen” to our hair grow, we take time out from life’s whirlwind to pause and reflect on what’s really important in life. My writing comes from those times when I “listen.”

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