Just when you thought the true spiritual meaning of Christmas had pandered to materialism, flashing lights, and political bickering over religious beliefs, an unexpected surprise and gift from an anonymous source splashes some holiday spirit along your way.

Isn't it sad that some of the only places anyone dares talk about, or demonstrates true acts of giving these days is where they're expected (church, charitable organization)? And usually then, they only appear at certain scheduled times of the year or days of the week. So, when someone surprises you with an unanticipated act of kindness or gift, somehow, it just seems totally out of our realm of thinking. Maybe, it's because of our current economic situation and that money's so tight it's hard enough taking care of ourselves, much less others, I don't know. But, every now and then, something happens, letting you know that the giving goodness of most people is still ever-present therefore showing us that God is always watching.

It was raining the other day in Dallas. Kind of a nice change, considering the oppressive heat and drought conditions we've been having here for most of the year. But I'm a sun person, so after about two or three days of grey skies and drizzle I'm ready for rays of sunshine to reappear. But not this day, this particular one had driving rain that slowed the energy of almost everything I saw.

I had a lot to do. It was around three in the afternoon when I listened to my stomach's growls telling me I hadn't eaten since early evening the day before. Not far from my residence, there's a small place that sells some of the best chicken and side dishes I've ever had. I drove toward it, and as its flashing sign filled my window the pounding of rain started increasing, making the thought of stopping to begin with a good idea. I pulled into the drive-thru and placed my order: two pieces with Okra and Jalapeno Poppers. This place has waitresses who bring your meal to your car when it's ready. The wait was normal as I watched cars swimming by along the road outside the parking lot--patches of grass getting a healthy drink as metal fenders flung water to the sides. Thunder boomed, a sound I hadn't heard here since spring. About this time, my peripheral vision sensed a waitress walking toward me with my order in hand. She wore a widened smile with large, glassy eyes. I grabbed my money and started to hand it over when she said very softly, "Thank you." Afterwards, she swung around and began walking away.

Quickly, I raised my voice, "Wait, aren't you forgetting something?"

"What would that be?"

"Your money?" I asked.

"Not today," she said. "It's all taken care of, God bless you."

"I don't understand."

"Your meal has already been paid for by someone inside."

Puzzled, I asked slowly, "Who was it?"

"I really don't know, God bless you."

I sat there for a minute, stunned. After all, how often does something like this happen anymore? You're floating through life thinking things are business as usual and then suddenly out of the blue...

I pulled around, parked, and walked inside interested in knowing who gave me my surprise. Maybe I should've just left it alone, but my curiosity had the best of me and I wanted to thank them. There were only two people in the dining room. I didn't recognize either, and both remained focused on their food as I strolled by. I then asked the cashiers about the free meal, they shrugged their shoulders and seemed as perplexed as I was.

A mystery? Yes. An act of unselfish kindness had happened. Possibly the person was one of the two, and wanted to simply remain anonymous therefore making them feel better about it being a true gift. Either way, this subtle experience demonstrated that sudden acts of kindness and generosity have become increasingly uncommon, which is why it affected me so greatly. Perhaps I'm making too much of this and should just move forward, stalking it up to some sort of Christmas marketing the restaurant happened to be doing that day. But, I don't believe that. Somehow, God wanted me to know that there is still good in this world and to always expect his blessings no matter how hard the rain falls, or dark the skies become.

Whoever the person was that blessed me that day, I hope you're reading this. If you are, I thank you. You let me know, and now others, that there are still those capable of having unselfish, giving natures. And all it took was a couple of drumsticks to show us the way.

As this Christmas week unfolds, may your blessings be many. Merry Christmas!

To see more of Randy Mitchell's work, visit his website @ www.theinspirationalwriter.com