Years ago, in Anza, California, my wife and I had a small business. In those days having a small business in Anza was a tough proposition, It was hard to get and build an inventory as everything had to come from “off the Hill” undoubtedly the worst time was in the winter. Trade slowed down, taxes were due and then off course there was the thought of how are we going to buy for the kids and loved ones at Christmas?
On this particular year, we had had a great summer of sales and had been able to save some money it was going to be the best Christmas in years and we were very excited to be able to do it. So, about a month before Christmas we jumped into the car an went off the hill. We spent the entire day shopping and had the car loaded with gifts. We were heading home and remembered that we had forgotten to get one important gift so we stopped at a mall that was on the way home and went in to get the last gift.
Walking out of the mall and into the parking lot we were figuring out where we had parked the car. I went to the aisle where it had been parked but it wasn’t there. Maybe I had picked the wrong aisle? So, we began searching for our car. After about 30 minutes of searching the terrible truth struck us. Our car had been stolen and with all our Christmas in it. I ran back into the mall and found a security officer and told him what had happened and he called the police.
We sat outside the mall, my wife in tears when it had finally sunk in. We called a friend in Anza and he was kind enough to come and give us a ride home. Empty. Betrayed, heartbroken we sat in our home for the next two days. One the third day we got a call from the police, they had found our car. We went down to the impound lot and had to pay to get it released. When I got into the car I found that the steering column had been hit with something and the ignition removed, I started it with a screwdriver thinking “that is how he started it.” There was still the odor of the man’s sweat in the car as he had labored to break the ignition.
Of course, everything was gone, even my coat that I had left in the car. We drove home. Christmas was gone and it was the middle of winter and just before Christmas and tax time the absolutely worst time of the year for business. We finally got around to discussing what was missing. All the gifts, my coat and even some Christian music that was in the car. If you’re going to be a thief why steal Christian music? We decided that there was no real option but to have a Christmas dinner and gather with our family. That after all was what was important. Still we felt not only robbed but somehow violated.
We went on for several days in a gloom, but trying to feel better. Business was historically nonexistent and a couple of more days passed. Then two weeks before Christmas the phone rang, first in the morning then again in the afternoon. Two jobs had come in and miracle of miracles both need the work to be done immediately. Both were good paying jobs and both wanted to pay cash as soon as they were done. Working very hard we finished both jobs and got paid for them a week before Christmas. We jumped into our stolen car and went shopping.
We were able to replace our entire Christmas exactly, including the last gift and I was even able to buy a new coat and get the car fixed. This of course gave us a lot to think about. We had always tried to be good hard working people and Christians but was that the reason? It didn’t seem so being a Christian doesn’t prevent bad things from happening. We finally decided that although a thief had stolen our children’s gifts that even if they sold them to others eventually those gifts would probably end up in the hands of children, it just made sense. And the Christian music? Thrown away?