“A Much-Needed Christmas Miracle in the Middle of Finals Week,” Ensign, December 2019
It was Christmastime and also the middle of finals week. Not only was I overwhelmed by the exams and hours of studying that lay ahead of me, but I had other personal challenges and worries that were hanging over me like a dark cloud.
While I was studying in my apartment one day, I popped my last bag of popcorn in the microwave. After putting the popcorn in a bowl and balancing it on my arm while also holding my textbook, I started to walk to my room. My balancing act didn’t last long before the bowl slipped and my precious popcorn spilled all over the floor. If it had been any other day of the year, I probably would have laughed and not made it a big deal. But on this stressful day it made me even more discouraged. My eyes watered as I vacuumed the popcorn off the carpet.
Later that night I was walking home from campus after I had just taken my first final. As I was walking on the sidewalk in the cold night air, a car slowly pulled up and stopped. The door opened, and a teenage boy got out and approached me, holding something in his hand. He smiled at me as he wished me a merry Christmas and handed me the gift. Somewhat startled, I smiled and thanked him. I watched him go back to his car as I processed what had just happened. I could see a young family in the vehicle, with other gifts they must have been handing out to random pedestrians on the street. Our eyes met and their radiant, shining faces humbly smiled as they drove away.
I was immediately filled with gratitude for that sweet family’s act of service, and that’s when I realized what the boy had handed me. The gift, tied in a red bow, was a sealed bag of popcorn. I remembered the spilled popcorn from earlier that day. Gratitude overwhelmed me and I began to cry. “Heavenly Father,” I thought, “you really are watching over me.”
I was beaming as I continued walking home. I untied the red bow and felt something taped to the back of the popcorn bag. It was a five-dollar bill. I smiled again in amazement at the goodness of this young family who selflessly gave gifts to strangers on a winter night. God led them to me in a time when I was feeling anxious and alone. And more importantly, I was reminded that without doubt, He watches us on a daily basis. He is there for us and shows His love through others.
I am so thankful for that dear family who selflessly served this stressed-out college student during that Christmas season.