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Diane Mack: The real Christmas gift is service to others

The Examiner
Diane Mack

During my life, there have been many examples of family and friends who searched for people who needed assistance on a daily basis.

These exemplary people were not necessarily people of wealth. In fact, some were poor, living in very humble circumstances.

No matter their financial situation, they were role models to me, serving the needy and blessing lives all year long.

My parents were my prime teachers. Even though they are gone, their perfect example of caring for others remains in my heart. My father and mother saw service to others as a daily duty. The doors of our home were always open to friends – and strangers – in need.

There were numerous other examples of compassion and kindness in my life. One such example was Cindy Godshall.

It was Christmas of 1965. Cindy patiently waited for a family to arrive by bus. It was late in the evening. Cindy knew they needed help. She knew they would have nothing but the clothes they were wearing.

This vibrant woman, a modern day Good Samaritan, had her station wagon loaded with blankets, food, clothes and toys, ready to transport the needy family to their apartment.

My sisters and I called Cindy “Sister Godshall.” She was remarkable to all who knew her. She was also the mother of a good friend.

Sister Godshall was an awesome example of service to me, just like my mom. She was always doing something for someone.

On occasion, Sister Godshall would pick me up after school. She’d buy me a snack and then take me to pick up her daughter. We attended different schools.

Sister Godshall shared all that she had.

It’s been 50 years since I last saw Sister Godshall. I believe my favorite trait was her willingness to buy me peanut butter cups.

You see, Sister Godshall did not like peanut butter cups. In fact, she didn’t even like the smell. But she knew I liked them. She thought of me first, just as she did many others.

It wasn’t just service to me or friends of her children. She served everyone. She was a Christ-like example to all. I believe she was born into this world bearing gifts and ready to assist anyone.

When I was a youth, I had many opportunities to be with Sister Godshall. I felt good when I observed her helping others. I wanted to be like her when I grew up.

That’s what is so phenomenal about service by example. Sister Godshall lived the way the Savior did. She embodied the true spirit of Christmas. The greatest joy of Christmas is in giving.

I’ve often thought had Sister Godshall lived east of Jerusalem and heard of the Savior’s birth, she would have driven the distance to worship Him. She would have also carried gifts.

Actually, she did drive the distance regularly. Her daily pattern of service honored Him. It is the same worship which began long ago.

And the Wise Men journeyed from the East to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him." When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they came into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother and fell down and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:2, 10-11)

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at Director@jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.