Stories of Joy - No. 7 - Holy Family Home Christmas Flowers

In Canada

At Bethany Home, in Winnipeg, the Sisters were enjoying their Christmas Eve Supper, when a telephone call from the receptionist at Holy Family Home, their personal care facility, very excitedly wished to share the news that many flowers had just arrived at the home. “This is Christmas!” replied the responder. “Well, there is a semi-trailer packed, floor to ceiling, with boxes of flowers, including eight packages of two dozen roses each, hundreds of carnations and mini-roses, and more than enough pre-made arrangements for each of the 276 residents.” When she had asked the delivery men who sent the flowers, they almost playfully kept telling her where they were grown! “They were so generous and so friendly and in such good spirit,” she continued, “They just shook my hand, said ‘Merry Christmas’ and left.”

There were enough flowers for all the residents, their families, and many on staff. Looking at the arrangement on the table in front of her, one resident leaned back in her chair, smiled, and exclaimed: “Just look at my table how beautiful it is, the flowers made every table look beautiful.” Another resident named the flowers “a nice mystery,” as no one seemed to know where they came from.

Will we ever know the benefactor’s name? Probably we won’t, but it is not lost to the Lord. This was Christmas, when Jesus was born, the Gift of Love from the Father. We must imagine the delight and love of the mystery flowers donor as he carefully counted the blooms so that no one would be excluded. He understood that families of the residents share in the pain and anxiety of their loved ones, and added extra arrangements, and packed more roses into the boxes — so many more, which allowed staff to also share in the intimate joy of caring and beauty which filled the entire place.

Later in the evening the CEO of Holy Family Home, after returning home from Christmas Mass, paid a visit to the Home. What he saw and felt is hard to express, but he did, embracing the entire event as truly mystery — yes — of God’s caring and unfathomable love. His words went something like this: “It is a huge surprise, and a great blessing for us all, most especially for our residents for this is their home. I could just see the smiles on their faces, even on the faces of those who have severe cases of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Their faces lit up.”

Next morning at Christmas Mass for the residents and the families who joined them, in the Gospel reading, everyone heard the angels’ voices announcing: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to all on earth who enjoy His favour.” Everyone knew now that their generous visitor of the night before had also heard this heavenly song. Jesus, born that night in Bethlehem, bless him and his family; bless us all, the whole world. Amen.

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