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Dying Neighbor Buys Christmas Gifts for the Next 14 Years

Owen Williams and his wife befriended their elderly neighbor when they moved into their home three years ago. When their daughter, Cadi, came along two years ago, neighbor Ken Watson became a grandfather figure. Then Watson died in October.

A few days later Watson’s daughter stopped by the Williams home with a large bag. She was dropping off 14 wrapped Christmas presents her father had bought and wrapped for Cadi. Williams said, “I kept reaching into the bag and pulling out more presents. You could have knocked me over with a feather. It was quite something.”

Williams wrote: “My wife and I think it might make a nice Christmas tradition to give our daughter ‘a present from Ken’ for the next 14 years. The issue is, we really have to open them now. Nobody wants to give a fifteen-year-old Duplo!”

He posted on Twitter to spread some Christmas spirit. He also wrote that he wasn’t sure whether he should open them, check them out and then re-wrap them for Cadi. In that way she would have an age-appropriate one each year. To date, more than 67,000 people have weighed in about the gifts on Williams’ Twitter poll, many saying that Watson’s kindness brought them to tears.

Williams said the majority voted for a “lucky dip,” meaning not opening them ahead of time, just giving Cadi one mystery present a year. He said, “It will be a lovely way to remember Ken. We’ll do one a year for the next 14 years. If she opens a box of Legos when she’s 16 then so be it.”

He said he was struck by how many people have responded by saying their neighbors are virtual strangers to them. “The thing that stands out to me is how few people know their neighbors,” Williams said. “People are saying, ‘That’s so lovely. I don’t even know my neighbors.’ . . . This Christmas, take your neighbors … a small gift, a token. Just say, ‘Hi.’ You can open a new world like we did.”

Possible Preaching Angles: 1) Community; Gifts; Neighbor; Outreach – A simple gift to your neighbor can open opportunities for sharing the love of Christ; 2) Christmas; Experiencing God; God, gifts of – God gave us the universally perfect gift at Christmas.

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