Unseen Christmas Presents
Twenty-four years ago, my wife starting having labor pains early on Christmas Day. It was our second child; our first had been induced, so we didn’t quite know what to expect with this one. But my wife sensed that it would be a long while before delivery, so we enjoyed our traditional Christmas bread and coffee while firstborn ransacked his presents. And we kept our reservations for 2 p.m. Christmas dinner, even though my wife had a major contraction as soon as we walked in the restaurant (she wanted to eat Christmas dinner, and badly).
Two hours later, we decided it was time to go to the hospital, in the pouring rain, which was better than the snow and the ice falling all around our metropolitan area. At 12:15 a.m., second-born came into the world.
Thinking back, I realize our lives were touched that day by scores of people, some of whom we never met or even knew existed.
The cooks and kitchen helpers at the restaurant worked to make a massive buffet meal. The servers showed us and others to tables.
The parking attendant at the hospital handed us our ticket and checked me out many hours later.
The lady in admissions had my wife wheeled away by an orderly while I filled out the paperwork.
The nurses in labor, delivery and recovery performed the hundreds of activities associated with the birth of a child.
The obstetrician arrived in the final two hours to deliver our son.
The cafeteria crew kept me supplied with coffee.
That’s a short list of some of the people who gave up their Christmas traditions and family celebrations to take care of us.
There are Others, Every Year
There are others, every year, serving, working, showing up to do their jobs.
Snowplow drivers, police, firefighters and other emergency responders stand by as winter storms close in.
Airline pilots, flight attendants, gate agents and baggage handlers ensure passengers make their connections and reach their holiday destinations.
Kennel operators take care of pets while families travel.
Clerks work in convenience stores so the rest of us can pick up what we forget at the supermarket and so complete our holiday meals.
Truck drivers stay on schedule to deliver goods across the country.
Shopping mall employees go to bed early in order to arrive before dawn when customers line up with exchanges and returns.
People work in warehouses and mail rooms to make sure operations function normally the next day.
War and News Go On
Men and women stay ready at their military posts and on their ships because war and conflict don't take a holiday.
Newspaper, radio and television reporters, videographers, sound engineers and technicians show up ready to publish and broadcast, because the news doesn’t stop for Christmas.
Workers in movie theaters show up to pop popcorn and sell tickets so the rest of us can enjoy the latest holiday blockbuster.
While some of us relax with family and friends at Christmas, others will continue to work, and work well and hard.
This Christmas, we at The High Calling want to say thank you to everyone who gives up family time to make our lives safer, easier and fuller. And we thank your families, too, who are giving up time together while you head out to offer countless people some of the best, if unseen, Christmas presents of all.