Last night I happened to see a wonderful Christmas movie on the Lifetime channel called “A Christmas Angel.”
I am not one to normally watch movies on Lifetime but I was pulled into the holiday theme and was utterly charmed by the story of an unlikely friendship between a young woman who grew up in the foster care system and her kind, fatherly neighbor.
When the young woman loses her job, her neighbor offers her a job as his personal assistant. Since they live in a very modest apartment building, she cannot imagine why he would require an assistant, but she accepts.
On her first day of work, she is instructed to go from place to place, ask for a certain name, letting the person know that “Nick sent me.” She was then given a folder, which she dutifully added to her ever-growing satchel. By the time she returned to her neighbor’s apartment, she was extremely curious about what all those folders contained.
That is when he shared his secret: he was an outrageously wealthy retired businessman. At one time he had it “all” before his marriage disintegrated and his estranged wife later died. That is when he realized that money can’t buy happiness so he decided to spend the rest of his life giving it away.
The folders contained information on people who needed his help, which he then provided anonymously.
He spent his life giving away what he didn’t need, which was practically everything.
His neighbor was floored by all this new information.
“Why do you live here if you have all that money?” she asked, motioning to the unimpressive, rather small and sparsely furnished apartment.
He simply smiled, shrugged and said, “A roof is a roof. Doesn’t matter how big it is. It keeps me dry. I have heat. Don’t really need any more than that. ”
So began an entirely new adventure for the young woman, as her neighbor taught her how to look at the world in an entirely different way.
At one point, he took her to a park. They sat together on a bench and he asked her to look around at the various people milling about.
“What needs do you see?” he asked.
She saw several.
“Now go meet them,” he invited.
She accepted his offer…and so began a new way of looking at the world through wondrously new eyes.
Throughout the next few weeks, she learned that while she could not meet every need, she could do something. It didn’t always have to involve money or enormous amounts of time. Some simply needed a hug, a listening ear, an opportunity.
As she let the world in, her previously hard heart melted, expanded, and swelled with love.
After her neighbor unexpectedly succumbed to cancer, she was the sole beneficiary of his estate. In a letter, he encouraged her to carry on his work and hoped she would use the money to bless others.
What a wonderful legacy!
I loved the message of this movie:
1) We need a lot less than we think we do.
2) Joy is multiplied by giving, not getting.
3) The blessed life is one that is others-focused rather than self-centered.
4) We can leave a legacy of giving if we choose to.
5) Money doesn’t equal happiness and peace.
6) We can all give something to those in our sphere of influence.
The season of giving is upon us.
Rather than focus on all that we want to get, let’s look for all the ways we can give.
I guarantee you a Christmas season full of sheer JOY if you accept that challenge!
Are you game?