THE LORD OF THE RINGS
“Not even J. R. R. Tolkien could dream up rings as precious as these.” So began the story of the Salvation Army red kettle outside Boston’s North Station a couple weeks ago. The ringer hadn’t noticed that one of the passers-by had dropped into the kettle a letter with two objects tucked inside. When the charity emptied the kettle late that night, they found the letter, from a widow. Recalling her late husband as an especially giving soul (particularly during the holidays), the anonymous widow donated both her diamond engagement ring and wedding band. The note asked that the two rings be sold and the proceeds used to buy toys for poor children. “‘I’m hoping there’s someone out there who made lots of money this year and will buy the ring for 10 times its worth. After all, there’s no price on love or the sentimental value of this ring. But money will help the kids,” her note read. Massachusetts Salvation Army Major David Davis later reported that the diamond ring itself was valued at $1,850. In keeping with the widow’s wishes, the Salvation Army spread the word about the widow’s gift and her desire. Soon multiple offers were made for the rings. But the highest offer actually came from a former Salvation Army ringer. In fact she offered $21,000 for the two rings, more than ten times their worth! But as the Associated Press reported: “This heartwarming Christmas story gets even better: The anonymous woman redeeming the rings is also a widow, and she wants to return them to the woman who originally donated them” (South Bend Tribune 12-16-14). Why so generous an offer from the second widow? “I want to be involved in this because it’s about the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of giving. My wish is that the rings can be returned to this woman who gave them up in memory of her husband for the sake of the children at Christmas.” As church official Davis put it, “One expression of love has inspired another grand gesture to help those in need during the holiday season. Because of these two amazing individuals, our Salvation Army officers, staff and individuals will be able to extend our outreach to the many families and children in need. We are dedicated to fulfilling the sentiment behind these two heartfelt donations.” Talk about a feel-good story for Christmas! Two widows, two sacrificial gifts, all because of one Child long ago who made the greatest sacrifice of all. Somewhere it is written, “Freely you have received—freely give.” They are the words of the Child grown up to be Savior and Lord of the rings and every other gift that shall be given in His name.