Eight years ago this holiday season, an elderly woman lay dying in a hospital bed. Her two sons stood by as the doctor, a family friend, told the old woman there was nothing more that could be done for her.
"That's OK, Lisa," the woman replied, "I believe in miracles."
One of the old woman's favorite stories recalled a Christmastime long ago when she was a young girl. She and her little sister were walking in downtown Lawrence, Mass., when they discovered they were suddenly hungry.
That discovery might have been prompted by the aroma flowing out of the door of a nearby Salvation Army soup kitchen.
Without thinking, the two girls walked into the soup kitchen. A volunteer met them at the door and asked if they were hungry. When they nodded in the affirmative, they were promptly served a simple, but delicious, meal.
As the girls ate, a couple of the volunteers began singing Christmas carols. Soon, almost all of the diners, including the two girls, joined in. The sight of the whole soup kitchen singing Christmas carols made a lasting impression on the girls.
When the girls returned home, their parents were aghast. But the girls steadfastly maintained that they had seen the true spirit of Christmas, witnessed a holiday miracle.
For the rest of her life, the young girl turned old woman reminded her family and friends to support the Salvation Army. It was her favorite charity. She was convinced it did the work of angels and performed miracles.
So, as you leave your favorite stores this holiday season, put your change in those red Salvation Army kettles. There are miracles to be performed.
(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.