More To Come - Our Christmas Angel Story:

by Kim Bedsole

One of my most precious memories of our baby boy Justin, was when he was three years old.  He was sitting in front of a coffee table. I can see it now with Christmas tree lights glittering, his big blue eyes just looking with wonder and his huge smile. He was playing with our family Nativity Set.   It was like he had received the newest best toy from Santa.  Little did I know then, it would become one of his favorite Christmas toys.

Each year the Nativity set became larger, not with sheep, cows, or shepherds, but with army men and ninja turtle figures.  I would look in on him and all his toys would be surrounding Baby Jesus.  He said they were protecting Him; he was building a fortress.  I would tell Justin to be careful, because the Nativity figurines were breakable.  I even got a little upset the first time Joseph’s arm fell off.  But, we would glue it back on, and the playing would continue.  I finally gave up and just let him play.  It was like a puzzle of missing body parts.  Somehow, Baby Jesus and a sheep remained in one piece.  I look back now and am so glad that I just let my little boy play with his action figures and Baby Jesus.

Throughout the years, our Nativity Game continued. Each year, the figures became more fragile but it was fun to watch a young child grow into a young man who still loved to play with it.  Christmas of 2007, Justin was 21; I had decided to replace our old, battered and broken Nativity set with a much nicer, bigger one.  Justin was not at all excited about getting a new Nativity set. He loved the old one with all the heads glued back on. I thought to myself, when he leaves for college, I will just replace it and he probably will not even notice it.  After all, he was all grown up and about to get married. He came home from school that Christmas, looked at the new one and said, “Where are the other pieces?”  I told him only two remained unbroken; he took them to his room and hid them from me. He could not throw away his favorite Baby Jesus. The next day, I was walking through the living room and noticed something strange about our “new” Nativity set; all the figures were turned around backwards. I just laughed and turned them back. The next day, he had laid all the figurines down, and I returned them upright. Our game continued through the Christmas season. It still makes me smile to this day. 

That same Christmas, I gave Justin and his fiancée (Leslie) their very own, brand new Nativity set for their new home. They were getting married in the next spring, and I wanted them to make new Christmas memories that they could share with their children one day. Justin told Leslie to hurry and hide their Nativity set, because Mom would want to replace it soon.  That was Justin; this dry, silly sense of humor. That Christmas Eve was such a wonderful time for us. I can close my eyes and see Jenna, our daughter, climbing in the bed with Justin; the two of them laughing, just like they had every other Christmas Eve to wait on “Santa” together. She told him they were going to have to stop this Christmas Eve tradition since he was getting married and had to be a grown up. He just laughed and smiled. I had such mixed emotions; my babies were about to become adults, and I wished  I could go back in time to when they were little. 

Justin and Leslie’s wedding day was finally here, March 15, 2008. It was a magical day. We smiled so much for weeks after the event, that our cheeks hurt.  The first time I saw Justin on his wedding day, my heart was so full with emotion and love. I thought to myself, how could I love my child any more than I do right now? Our whole family was on a high like never before. Justin had married his high school sweetheart and both of them were doing great at college. We had it all; the perfect all-American family and it was only getting bigger and better.   

Friday, May 30, 2008, was the night our entire world fell apart. When you get a knock at your door at midnight, you just panic and know it means something bad. We opened the door and there stood our pastor, Joey, and a family friend. The look on their faces was unbearable pain. Our pastor’s words are branded in my mind, “Something really bad has happened. Justin and Allen (Leslie’s brother) were in a bad car accident”.  I can remember saying, “Ok, let’s get dressed and go to them”. Joey just shook his head and said we could not go to where they are now. They did not make it. I just could not believe it. I am the mother who gave birth to him. Shouldn’t I know? Shouldn’t I feel it? I could not accept it. I screamed at Joey and told him it was a mistake, and that this could not happen to us. God would not do this to us! We did what was right. We were Christians. We went to church and helped others. Not our family. Not our baby boy. Why? I can remember walking into Jenna’s room that night, hating to wake her with the news her big brother was no longer here to take care of her (she and Justin were 20 months apart and always had been there for each other. Now, what would she do without him?). That night is the night my baby girl grew into a Godly woman. The way she handled this tragic accident and held me, prayed for me; it was as if I was the child and she the mother. I could not have been more proud of her.

I can remember praying and wanting to talk to Justin’s wife. But, her and her parents were also living this nightmare at the same time. Like Justin to Jenna, Allen was Leslie’s only sibling; her big brother. My precious daughter-in-law lost her husband and brother in the same night. I thought, how could she bear it? She too had to grow up that night. She has held her head high and faced this with such grace and faith. Justin would be so proud of her.

By 2:00 AM that night, our house was full of family and friends. What wonderful support we had, and the support still continues to this day. We will never be able to thank these people enough. I know when Chris and I could not pray or even say the name of Jesus, they were standing in the gap and praying us through our valley. I know they are still praying for us. We are blessed to know such wonderful people who made such an impact in our lives. I think God puts some kind of shield over you the first few days after something like this. We were just going through the motions. There is no way we could have done it without God’s grace.

Christmas 2008 was our first without Justin. You can only imagine the dread and fear of our first Christmas season without our son. His birthday (November 13) was agonizing; I just prayed for the day to be over. Chris and I tried our best to keep a happy face on for Jenna’s sake; never wanting her to think she was not enough. We forced ourselves to put up a Christmas tree. This was the season to celebrate Jesus’ birth. We had to be strong and do the right thing. It was not about us, but about Jesus.  I would wrap a present and cry, decorate the tree and cry. But, I knew it was the best thing for our family to just try to hold ourselves together in attempt to have a “normal” Christmas for Jenna’s sake.

A couple of weeks before that Christmas, I was at a church choir party and a young girl dressed as an angel came up and asked for me.  She said she had a gift for the Bedsole’s and gave me a beautifully wrapped package. I was in total shock. I opened the gift, and it was a shepherd figurine. The angel quoted Luke 2:10 – 12,

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

She said “More to come” and walked away. Everyone was so taken aback, knowing our loss and how much this wonderful gift would lift our spirits during the Christmas season.

A few days later, Chris was walking out of church. There stood another little girl dressed like an angel in white and silver with another beautiful package.  It was an Angel figurine, and the child said “More to come”.   

Another few days passed, and I was teaching gymnastics at a local preschool. The director of the school brought in an older gentleman. He handed me a package that held two Wisemen figurines, and he said “More to come”.  

A few nights after this, we drove up to our house and on the front porch was a beautiful package. It was a stable. The card read “More to Come”. At this point, we started putting the pieces of the puzzle together. We were receiving pieces to a beautiful Nativity scene! How could someone know how special Nativities were to Justin and me?

The story continues and a few nights later, Chris and I were at choir practice. A young man came up to Chris dressed in a full King’s outfit; a crown and robe and all! He bowed, handed Chris a package and said, “Wise men still seek Him. More to come.” We had received all three of the Wisemen now!

Chris and I were just blown away by the kindness and the thought that went into these wonderful gifts. A few days passed, and each day we would anticipate the delivery of the other pieces. Every day during this Christmas season, we had a little hope to look forward to; a bright light to keep our minds off the dark, painful moments.

When there was only one week left before Christmas, we knew there were still some major pieces left to complete this beautiful set.  We were like little kids waiting on Santa!

We were giving a small dinner party to thank some of the many people who held us up throughout this time. During dinner, our door bell rang. When I opened the door, there stood a young couple dressed as Mary and Joseph holding a beautiful package. As they handed us the gift, they said was “More to come” and simply walked away. In the package were two figurines; Jesus’ earthly parents. What a night! Our friends were able to witness God’s love in action! Everyone was crying, laughing and thanking God all at the same time. This is the definition of worship in the Bedsole house. We could not believe someone could be so thoughtful and loving to do this for our family. 

Christmas Eve came and went, and we still had not received the final, most precious figure, Baby Jesus! We were still anticipating His coming. Christmas morning, I was in my bedroom trying to stuff the stockings, crying and just missing Justin. Our stockings had always meant so much to me, because I had sewed them when I was pregnant with each of my children. Now, I held the stocking of my son who was no longer there for me to fill. The doorbell rang as I was basking in darkness.

It was our dear friends and neighbors with a handful of presents. Tears immediately filled all of our eyes. They said that a couple had visited them last week and asked if they would deliver the last package to us on Christmas morning; Baby Jesus! The Nativity pieces were complete! The anonymous people who orchestrated these acts of kindness truly embodied what Christmas is all about. We will be forever thankful to them. They gave us HOPE.

A week after Christmas 2008, another set of neighbors received a phone call from an anonymous person who asked if they could deliver a package to the Bedsole’s. It was the storage box for the precious Nativity set we had received. In the box, was a letter from our Christmas Angels. The letter said that they wished to remain anonymous and that the box was symbolic of some things having their time to be put away. At the end of the letter, it simply said, “More to come”.

Christmas Eve 2009, a package was delivered!  It said, “Do not open until Christmas morning”.  It was unbelievable, but our Christmas Angels were up to it again! It was a children’s Nativity set for Jenna. The card read, “We pray this nativity set will be useful in sharing Christ’s love to your children and the night of all nights, the birth of the Christ child”. Also in the package, was a letter for me and Chris sharing some of the stories of the people who had been randomly chosen to make the Nativity set deliveries. We had never seen any of these people before, and it was such a blessing and honor to hear how the experience of helping others in a time of need impacted their lives. As always, the letter concluded with three words; “More to come”.

A few days before Christmas 2010, another Christmas Angel gift was delivered. The return address on the package was Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. These people think of everything! In the package was a Nativity quilt for Jenna, a Nativity Tie for Chris, and a Nativity wall plaque for me. Again, our Christmas Angels were bringing joy to our lives two years after the tragic accident.

During the Christmas 2011 season, we had our annual neighborhood Christmas dinner at our house, and the door bell rang. I opened the door and could not believe what I saw. I just started crying. There stood a young woman with a beautiful package! It was an amazing Thomas Kincaid Nativity Christmas Tree. The woman said, “I was sent by God. More to come”. This was truly a surprise. What kind of people could continue blessing our family over and over again? They must truly be heaven sent.

We moved to Texas in the summer of 2012. After relocating from Alabama for Chris’ job, we received a letter that had been forwarded from our previous address. The letter was from the young lady who delivered the Nativity Christmas Tree the year before, and she explained her experience the night of the delivery:

“The night was cold and beautiful. As I walked toward your home, I began praying that you would be there and the delivery would be at the perfect time. When I hugged you, the Lord gave me a special love for you and your family. Many times, I have prayed for you. I have felt your loss, but also your love. I do know God has used you and your family to deliver the Christmas story many, many times. I hope to one day meet your son and let him know what an awesome impact his life has made on me. If I never get to see you again, I know I will recognize you when we all get to Heaven and you can introduce Justin to me…”

Christmas 2012 is our first year to celebrate Christmas as Texans! We can hardly believe our Christmas Angels have tracked us down. We truly thought the story would end with our move. A few weeks before Christmas, we received a beautiful framed Christmas poem titled “Merry Christmas From Heaven”. The poem was written as if Justin was speaking directly to us. In the box with the poem was a single sheet of notebook paper with the handwritten message, “More to come”. A week later, the postman delivered a package that contained a 70-year old, ceramic lamp with scenes of the Nativity on each side with spots for candles to be used as an advent wreath. These people never cease to amaze us.

To this day, we still do not know who is behind this remarkable sacrifice for our family. We are so humbled and amazed by these generous gifts that our family has been given over the years. These kind acts have saved our family’s lives, and we will forever be astounded by the unconditional love that has been shown. I know one day, maybe not on this earth but in Heaven, we will be able to thank them. Then I can ask them, how did you know about me and Justin’s Nativity game?

When you lose a child you are in a pit of despair and no matter how hard you try, you cannot climb out of it by yourself. We have fought the devil face-to-face many times and God keeps pulling us back to Him. I do not know how anyone could make it through something like this without the promise of Heaven. Each day, I get out of bed and know I can make it. I am one day closer to Heaven and seeing my blue-eyed baby boy. This life is just a vapor. It is our job now to make each day count, and to help others make Heaven.

“We are one year closer to the return of the King of Kings. He no longer sleeps in the Bethlehem manger, but is looking over the banister of Heaven, anxious to come for His children” –A quote from one of many letters from our Christmas Angels

Merry Christmas and more to come….

The Bedsole Family