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What Prayer Can Do: Secret Santas

A Sunday School class in search of a Christmas project receives divine guidance.

Janis Perrault

December was always a busy month for our women’s Sunday school class, but my classmates and I still wanted to do a special project together that would really serve a good cause. But what?

“We could volunteer at a homeless shelter,” Linda suggested when we brainstormed before class.

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“Or send care packages to our troops overseas,” said Kelly.

“There’s always Christmas caroling,” I said. “We could spread joy to our neighbors right here in town.”

They’re all good ideas, Lord, I prayed as we started our lesson, but which one do we pick?

At the end of the class, as always, we shared our prayer requests. Katie had barely made it on time, and she had seemed distracted during the lesson.

Now she told us, “My family could really use your prayers. My husband still hasn’t found full-time work. We’re falling behind on the rent. I’ve looked everywhere, but I haven’t been able to find a job.”

Katie buried her face in her hands. I knew how proud she was and how hard their family had struggled.

“God, we trust you to meet this family’s needs,” our teacher said.

“Poor Katie,” Kelly said to me as we walked out to our cars. “On top of everything else, she told me that one of her little girls had her bike stolen just the other day!”

“I think I know what our special project should be,” I said.

E-mails flew back and forth among class members. Soon we pooled enough money for Katie’s rent and utilities.

Linda and Patti wrapped up a shirt for Katie’s husband and a cute new sweater for Katie.

Kelly found two bicycles as good as new, one for each of their girls.

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Brenda and Diane donated groceries for Christmas dinner and beyond.

Stephanie decorated stockings filled with treats.

Then, on Christmas Eve, we recruited a friend from a neighboring town to deliver all of the goodies, so that we could remain Secret Santas.

The first class after Christmas, Katie wore her new sweater, and a big smile. By then I think she figured out who her Secret Santas were, but if she hadn’t, the smiles we flashed back surely gave us away.

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