Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Thrift Store Miracle (A True Christmas Tale)

Something my brother Rick has always enjoyed is browsing through thrift stores. Well, some of us would call them junk shops. Let me tell you, though, he has found some pretty neat things through the years, but nothing like the tale I'm about to tell you.

Up and down the aisles he travels. Occasionally something fun or of particular value to my brother surfaces. Perhaps a neat toy still in its original box for one of his children, or some type of really cool antique item discarded by someone else as nothing of value but certainly worth something to him.

Today as he headed toward the back corner of the store, his eyes fell upon a huge Christmas wreath on a shelf. "Hmmm, that's funny," he thought. "It looks like one that my dad made." He pulled it down and almost dropped it as powerful feelings washed over him. "It IS my dad's wreath!"

Our dad was an avid crafter. He had an idea one year with all the pine cones lying around his yard to begin making little trees and wreaths with them. We gave many of his gorgeous finished products away to friends and family.This particular wreath was made for a festival several years back. It took first place in its category and won a ribbon. Also, people bid on the items at the festival, and someone had chosen this wreath. I imagine they had enjoyed it through the years, and who knows why it had been discarded, but I have to tell you how much it meant to us to find it at this particular time.

We both have been missing our parents more than ever recently. It will be our second Christmas without them. The holidays were always so special for Dad. He used to take such time and care in decorating the house and making handmade items. Rick has taken over our father's role. He tries to make Christmas so special for everyone. He replicated an item for me recently that Dad made a long time ago that I'd misplaced through the years. He's surprised me with little trees just like Dad would have made, knowing it would bring joy and bring Dad just a little bit closer.

My brother prayed a few days ago that God would allow him to hear from our parents somehow before Christmas. That he would either dream about them, or see something that could only be a gift from God and a sign from them.

What are the chances that he would be in a store where someone had left this wreath? The chances he would find it days before the holiday? The chances it would still be intact because it is a big, cumbersome thing, and somewhat delicate? The chances that someone else didn't purchase it first?

There are miraculous stories during Christmas and other times. And this tale will be our own small miracle to tell through the years. For I believe the Lord let my father make himself known to us. To let us know he is alright, and that everything will be fine. He's close by, and near to us for Christmas. I'm still shaking my own head in wonderment. That everything lined up just perfectly for this to happen in the way that it did.

I can imagine Dad giving God a big wink right about now.

Two of the items Rick made me to replicate crafts like Dad's.

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