Note my use of the word "thought." I "thought" I had found Christmas in a cup until tonight when I truly did find Christmas in a cup of gingerbread hot chocolate, and NO, I don't mean the taste of it but the way I got it. Now picture this, you've got me, my mom, and my dad (the 3 musketeers as I like to call us) on Christmas Eve with nothing really to do but look at each other, so about a month ago I decided I wanted to go to IHOP on Christmas Eve after seeing a commercial on TV for their holiday pancakes (yes, I realize that I am admitting what a fatty I am, but the story is so worth it! haha!). There is absolutely nothing special about IHOP, and my parents were less than thrilled to say the least. You would think that I would have preferred some homecooked meal or fancy dinner, but all I wanted was some ridiculously unhealthy pancakes. Humorously, I ended up getting turkey bacon, eggbeaters, and pumpkin pancakes which were far more on the healthy side than almost everything else on the menu there. As we were leaving, I saw a picture of some Gingerbread hot chocolate, and like the 6 year old I am, I said, "mommy, please!" She kind of ignored me at first, but as she was paying, she asked me if I really wanted some ... and I was like, "YEAH!" (I know ... very mature). So I proceeded to ask the hostess girl for a gingerbread hot chocolate to go, and as I asked for it, our sweet little waiter said he would get it and not to charge us. My mom, dad, and I all stood there somewhat dumbfounded, and I more than likely needed to pick my jaw up off the floor. This kind, sweet boy handed me my hot chocolate and said, "Merry Christmas." It was all I could do to get a thank you out of my mouth.
It was in this cup of gingerbread hot chocolate that it felt I truly experienced the real meaning of Christmas in America. After spending 2 Christmases away from family where there are no expensive presents or fancy foods to distract you from celebrating the birth of Christ, it's hard to spend a Christmas in America where although everyone "claims" to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, I would venture to say that most don't. This boy couldn't have been older than 18, yet he did such a kind thing for a complete stranger. To someone else it may have been only a cup of hot chocolate, but to me it was a gift from God, a reminder that He is always with me, always holding me, always taking care of me, and always listening to my prayers. We are never alone, and I am so thankful that God reminded me of the true meaning of Christmas in a cup of hot chocolate.