Christmas, FL

A Christmas Miracle Right Before My Eyes

Debbie Centeno
Photo by Lore Schodts on Unsplash

A Christmas Miracle

The holidays are fast approaching and for those of us who grieve the loss of a loved one it stirs up emotions. It has been my case for the past few days. A few years ago, I experienced a Christmas miracle, which I want to share with you.

What Is An Angel Tree?

At that time, I worked part-time at a church. The church is one of the sponsors for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. One of the church volunteers was looping a string on the Angel Tree tags to hang them on the tree. Curiosity got to me, so I asked, “What are you doing?” She explained what the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program was and how it worked.

“Each tag has a child’s name with information such as age, favorite color, their needs with sizes and their Christmas gifts wish. The tags are hung on the Church Christmas tree in the narthex for members and friends to select, purchase the gifts, and return the gifts to the Angel Tree, which will then be distributed by the Salvation Army to each recipient,” she told me.

“Oh, that’s wonderful! I didn’t know that” I responded and continued on towards my office.

A Great Cause to Participate In

While at my office I thought about the Angel Tree. It was a worthy cause, therefore I called my husband and told him about the program. We both agreed it was a great way to help less fortunate children and decided to participate. After that call, I thought about my forever 20-year-old angel in heaven. He is always on my mind but with the holidays approaching, it seems to be more. I miss him so much and thought, “I can’t get my angel Richie a gift, but I can get a gift for a young child and make their Christmas a happy one.”

My Angel Tree Tag Is My Angel

I returned to the reception area and asked the volunteer, “When can I grab my Angel Tree tag?” and there it was. Just as the volunteer fumbled her fingers through the tags searching for a little girl, my eyes caught sight of the one on the top pile. The tag read “Ricardo.” Not Richard or Ricky, but “Ricardo.” It was staring right at my face, I just stared at it in shock. The volunteer was oblivious of what was happening.

She said, “Well I found a little girl’s tag if you want it.”

I responded, “You know what, I’m going to take this one right here. Look at the name, it says Ricardo. My son’s name was Ricardo.” I proceeded to explain to her what had just happened.

It Was Heaven’s Gift to Me

She smiled at me and said, “that is the Lord’s way of letting you know your son is always with you and that you can indeed get a gift for Ricardo.”

Tears were already filling my eyes. I knew then that, even though I cannot physically see, hug or kiss my son; he is always with me in spirit. I was blessed with a wonderful miracle for Christmas.

Originally published at on November 16, 2018.

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My writing journey began as a way to cope with grief. I realized I enjoyed writing and began a blog, Debbie’s Reflection ( I also enjoy traveling. Therefore, as a traveler, I began another blog, Traveler Wows (, in which I share tips on places, landmarks, and reviews on airlines, hotels, and restaurants. Thank you for joining me on my writing journey.

Orlando, FL

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