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The early turkey arrived just in time

It was a topsy-turvy time in my life.

Things were not going well on the homefront. My husband, two children and I had been living in the small Pennsylvanian town I grew up in. None of us were happy for a multitude of reasons.

After much prayer, we decided we needed a change, a major one. I temporarily left my family in Pennsylvania and returned to Cortez, Colo., the town we had been living in three years earlier.

I lived in a friend’s garage for a few months and got a job at Wal-Mart. I got around on a borrowed bicycle. During the three years we were in Pennsylvania, the cost of living in Colorado had skyrocketed. I moved into a small trailer which was the same price of the six-bedroom house we were living in before.

In early October, my family came in the Honda Prelude bringing only what they could fit in the car with them, which wasn’t much. So we began the whole process of starting over from scratch. We figured our income tax check coming in would help us survive until my husband got a job. But for some reason it was late, very late. As Christmas approached we not only didn’t have any presents under the tree, we had no tree, no decorations and the food in the cupboards was dwindling fast.

At that time, my pastor asked me to write a piece for the church newsletter. I was having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit that year.

They say, “Write what you know.” I wrote about how Christmas could be a painful time for many after losing a loved one, when they were away from family, or were having financial difficulties, and that those who had the”“perfect Christmas” should reach out to ones who may be hurting. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He also wants us to have the attitude of looking out for those in need.

Then the Monday before Christmas, my friend came by. She said, “A friend gave me this turkey, but I already have one. I thought you might be able to use it.”

I didn’t tell her that the turkey wouldn’t make it to Christmas. It was the only meat we had in the house. At the end of the week, when I had made the last turkey casserole, the tax check arrived in the mail.

The next day, our pastor came to visit us. I think he was checking up on us to see how we were doing. I watched him taking in the newly-decorated tree, and the many wrapped gifts underneath. I could imagine him thinking, “Oh, they must be doing very well.”

And we were doing well. Slowly the Lord put the pieces together, including the brokenness of our family. Now when we have our “perfect Christmases” I’ll always remember that early turkey that came just in time. And during holidays, especially, I try to keep my eyes open for those who would benefit from a turkey, a gift, or even a smile.’

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