Search

Our Surprise Christmas Visitor

By Kris Beaird 


Our Christmas plans in 2018 were very simple. Our kids and grandkids live in the northern and western U.S., so even though my mother-in-law would join us at our home in Florida for the day for turkey dinner and gifts, my husband, Jim, and I knew we would spend Christmas without the excitement, anticipation, and sense of togetherness kids and grandkids bring to the occasion.

I was very intentional in protecting myself from disappointment during December. We had experienced other holidays alone, and I had made them miserable for my husband, so this year I had determined it would be different. I decided not to watch any Hallmark Christmas movies since they are very emotional and always end with a family sitting happily around the table. I also chose not to listen to Christmas music. I like it for a few days, but not for more than a month! Lastly, it was imperative for me to choose positive thoughts and actions to protect myself and my husband from an emotional nosedive on my part.  

Then Jim came home a few days before the holiday with a request. He had met Walt, a veteran, about a year before and employed him to watch over a commercial property in Tampa. I had met Walt myself, and he seemed very nice. Jim asked what I thought about asking Walt for Christmas dinner since he didn’t have plans. 

“Sure, that sounds good!” I said.  

Walt didn’t have a car, so Jim made the twenty-minute drive into Tampa to pick him up and bring him to our home. It felt good to have someone for Christmas dinner who really appreciated it. We ate appetizers and visited. During dinner, we discovered that Walt’s wife had died seven years ago from cancer and his adult son had been shot by a neighbor eight years ago. Wow! He really had no family.  

Have you ever felt like God sent an angel to you? That’s how I felt that day! God allowed us to celebrate Walt’s birthday with him. Over dessert we sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and to Walt! It became one of the most special Christmases I’d ever experienced!

One other detail that I should include is that Walt is homeless. He’s living on the streets in Tampa, but he has created a system for himself. He has a bicycle, some clothes, and a few worldly goods. Life is simple for Walt, and he doesn’t ask for much. He had been very dependable for what Jim needed, and we trusted him.  

So, what’s the surprise? Yes, Walt was a surprise guest that day, but the real surprise came when the conversation gravitated to birthdays. Eventually I asked, “Walt, when is your birthday?”  

“Today I’m 68,” he said.  

Today?! My heart jumped into my throat and I could hardly speak. He hadn’t said a word about it until then.  

Have you ever felt like God sent an angel to you? That’s how I felt that day! God allowed us to celebrate Walt’s birthday with him. Over dessert we sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and to Walt! It became one of the most special Christmases I’d ever experienced!  

In the following weeks as I reflected on that special Christmas day, I realized how preoccupied I had been with protecting myself from disappointment while my husband was able to look outward to see the need of another person and invite him to our house. We never know how our obstacles can become a blessing! 

In God’s plan there are no “chance” meetings. They may seem like surprises, but they are really “setups” for us! In this coming new year, I want to keep my eyes, ears, and heart open to surprises.

About the Author


Kris Beaird lives in Tampa, Florida, with her husband, Jim. They are retired from ministry and are enjoying their seven grandchildren, pickleball, friends, and church! 

Close
Your custom text © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.
Close