Last Christmas Mitch had two Secret Santa’s that each did a variation on the 12-days of Christmas. This daily act of love was performed by two caring neighborhood families, who to this day have remained anonymous. I was humbled how they went out of their way to give Mitch a lift and offer a glimpse of hope and happiness to a little boy who was very sick and parents whose hearts trembled with fear. 

Each evening at our door sat two separate gifts addressed to our son with a thoughtful note and gift from the heart. I hesitate showing one photo (as seen here) because I don’t want either of these families to think their gifts were any less valued. The truth was, each night as Natalie and I went to bed we wept tears of gratitude for both of them and we prayed that whoever was responsible for being so good to our son would be blessed 100-fold.

When I look back on my photos of December & January of last winter I am shocked sometimes to see how sick our son looked. Every day Mitch was getting sicker and weaker - but as I saw his reaction to these Secret Santa gifts he would bounce back a little and find new energy. Mitch loved the surprise but he loved the thoughtfulness even more so. Upon seeing these anonymous acts of love toward my son it occurred to me a thoughtful gift is a gift twice. 

My sweet wife, ever the thoughtful giver, has also shown me over the years by her own quiet example that gifts can be the instruments of our affection … a way of saying “I understand you” or “I care.” In the end, the gifts that last [the ones with the greatest impact] are never really about the objects we give each other but instead are found in the meaning behind them. A thoughtful gift is a gift twice.

I hope those who gave our son the gift of love and care last year know how much that meant to us – but even more, what it did for little Mitch. The photo on the right was Mitch last Christmas Eve as we were eating his favorite dinner. Mitch asked me in a quiet voice, “Dad, do you know who’s giving me those gifts?” I told him I didn't know but that I knew they loved him – else they wouldn't have been so kind. He smiled softly and said, “I wish I could thank them.”

In honor of my son’s wishes to thank whoever gave those gifts, I want to thank you for him and hope you know that your gifts were a gift twice. 

In fact, looking back, your gifts were a gift thrice.