The following letter previously ran on LDS Living in 2015.
This year the New York Times best-selling novel Christmas Jars got a new chapter with the release of the movie. To celebrate, here is a touching, true story and letter from a recipient of a Christmas Jar, a Christmas tradition inspired by the book. The tradition is simple—put a jar in a visible place in your home and put your spare change in it throughout the year. At Christmastime, donate the jar to someone who needs the extra love and help.
To the group of teenagers at Primary Children's Hospital eleven 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.
You see, it was never about the money to us. It was about the fact that you made us feel something that no amount of money can buy. You taught us that the gift of service can change a trial into a blessing. I don't think there is anything you can do for another person greater than that.
It's been eleven years, but I think about all of you often. I have always wanted to tell you how much your kindness meant to us and how grateful we are for each of you. We have been able to tell many people about your kindness and we pay it forward as often as we can. The little boy in this picture is that little baby that was in surgery that day.
His name is Krew and we are proud to say he is a happy and healthy little boy. Nothing would make us more proud than to see him grow up to be the kind of teenager you were that day. We all know how much the world needs people like you right now. You are the ones that truly make the world a brighter place.
I hope this message somehow finds you and I sincerely hope that whatever trials have come and will come into your life, that you will be blessed in the same way you helped bless us.
One Grateful Mom