“I've had stories from people that didn't need the money, they just needed to be seen. I love those,” Wright said. “People in nice homes with nice cars and good jobs, but have been through hard things emotionally and spiritually—divorces and illness and depression. And they get on their knees and they pray for a miracle and someone knocks at the door. And they pull the door open and sometimes they see a car racing away and sometimes they see someone hiding in the bushes and they pretend they don't see them.”
While on the podcast, Wright shared the specifics of several stories that stand out in his mind from the past 20 years. But on his website, there are 57 pages of stories that are shared with permission. We picked six of our favorites and hope that reading them will bring you the Christmas spirit in July because as the song says, “We need a little Christmas now.” If you like what you read, you can read more on ChristmasJars.com.
The following stories have been edited for clarity and names have been removed in most cases.
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
My family and I are the recipients of a Christmas Jar! I am so humbled and filled with gratitude at this beautiful act of kindness and love. I have a daughter who is very ill. She has been sick for six years and it took us five years to get an accurate diagnosis. …Receiving this jar is a bright spot in a long and difficult journey. She is getting better, but she deals with excruciating pain and cognitive effects of the illness. I hope someday I will be the one delivering a jar to someone who needs it. Thank you!!!
Belle Plaine, Kansas
I am a working, single mom of three children ages 15, 11, and 6. This Christmas I was secretly struggling, trying to decide how I was going to make it through the holiday as two of my children also have birthdays just days before Christmas day. I came home today after a very long and stressful day and found a gift bag with a card, a jar, and this book “Christmas Jars.” As I read the card and saw this jar that was full of blessings, I just cried and my heart was so full of love and warmth. It made me realize that we are never alone, and our Heavenly Father is aware of each and every one of us and we are surrounded by so many that love us and care about us! I just want to thank you and thank that special someone out there that followed the Spirit, saw a need and chose to serve my family!
Point Pleasant, New Jersey
In December 2013 we were settling in from being out of our home for almost a year due to Super Storm Sandy. We were going to be hosting Christmas day. We were so excited. One evening we came home from being out and I noticed the little plastic Santa jar in our mailbox. I brought it inside and had no idea what I was going to find. I opened the container and out popped a note that read “I too am a ‘Sandy Survivor’ and got a Christmas jar last year, decided to ‘pay it forward’ this year……Happy New Year too!”
Well, my jaw dropped and I started to cry. My husband asked me what was wrong, but I couldn’t speak and I just handed him the jar and note. He too was very touched by what he read. There was a monetary gift inside and no name signed. I still have the note and wanted to do the same the following year. Well it is 2018 and I am finally going to pay it forward this year and I cannot wait to do it. I will never be able to thank the person that did this for us and I wish I could. I hope they know how they touched our hearts!
Maine, New York
I recently divorced my husband and am a single mom working two jobs trying to make ends meet. A dear friend of mine that I grew up with took myself and my two daughters into her home, and I am back in the town I grew up in. This town is quaint, and we are all a big family. The people are wonderful and would do anything for anyone.
Christmas Eve, I was on my front porch and happened to turn around and see a package near my front door labeled [with my name]. I immediately got tears in my eyes and looked inside. I pulled out a piece of paper with a Christmas wish and a mason jar full of money. I continue to cry and ask God what I did to deserve this.
Things like this don’t happen to me. I reread the message over and over again trying to figure out who it was from. The message says I will not know where it came from so I will move on in suspense and collect as the community did for myself and my children. I feel so blessed and am proud to pass on this tradition!! God is good!!
To the group of teenagers at Primary Children’s Hospital seven years ago:
On December 12th, 2008, you touched my life for the better. I was surrounded by loved ones in one of the waiting rooms at Primary Children’s Hospital when I saw a group of you, just young teenagers, walking through the halls. You were giggling and being a little suspicious. You walked up to me and set a big jar of money on my lap and said “Merry Christmas” before rushing away.
I don’t remember how much money was in the jar and I don’t remember what all of you looked like. But I do remember the smiles on your faces and how you made me and everyone else in that waiting room feel. I’ll never know why you decided to pick me when you must have walked passed countless others you could have given it to, but I’m forever grateful you chose me.
You didn’t know this, but at that very moment, my precious 2-day-old baby was undergoing a life-saving surgery to fix a birth defect he was born with. It was a hard and scary day for us filled with a lot of uncertainty and worry. I want you to know that you were our angels that day. You were our light in the dark and our good in the bad. You turned a negative experience into a positive one. You helped us experience the kind of joy that can only be felt during a hard time.
We were spending our Christmas season in a hospital a couple hours away from home, away from most loved ones, and away from everything else that makes Christmas feel like Christmas, and yet, I’ve never felt the spirit of Christmas as much as I did that year. You did that for me.
Read other stories like these at ChristmasJars.com.
Lead Image: YouTube screenshot
You can join in the tradition by starting to save now for your very own Christmas Jar! What is a Christmas Jar? Use this jar to collect your loose change. Then, during the week before Christmas, carefully select someone you think might most benefit from the jar. Part of the magic of the Christmas Jar is anonymous giving, so we invite you to leave it secretly for your recipient in a place they will easily find it (a porch, on their office desk, or in another safe place). Trust that the magic of the Christmas Jar will live on through your kind and generous gift. Christmas Jars are available for purchase at DeseretBook.com. You can also purchase the book that started it all, Christmas Jars.