This Christmas story occurred on Tuesday, December 22, 2009
We received an order three days before Christmas from our website from Karen. She needed two prayer books to be imprinted with two names on them, and she needed another seven prayer books for the pews in her congregation.
The books to be imprinted our sent to a custom bindery in town because they make the imprinting look very much better than we can do it in the store. The bindery knows how to take vacations. They are closed between Christmas Eve and New Years Day. It was too late to have the books delivered to the bindery for the imprinting. They would be imprinted and returned to us on January 6th.
I thought that Karen ought to know this so I phoned her home. No one answered and I left a message. Looking at her order I noticed the church phone number, but it was after 3:00 PM Seattle time and Karen was in Washington DC, where it was after 6:00 PM. “I might as well try the church and leave a message too.” I thought.
The phone was answered when I called the church. Karen answered. My first question to her was “What are you doing answering the phone at church after 6:00 three days before Christmas?” She replied that the work for Christmas was not completed, and had to be. I then explained about the delay with imprinting the two prayer books.
Here follows the E-mail correspondence that occurred later that day.
We have the best customers in the world. And, we have excellent support organizations too.
About twenty minutes ago, “and what to my wondering eyes should appear..” but a little rotund man, so jolly and bright, from the bindery.
As things worked out today we delivered Todd’s and Ellen’s books to the bindery because a fellow was headed that way. That was unplanned and the bindery was working late. As it worked, certainly the Holy Spirit was working too. The bindery owner’s granddaughter needed a ride to her competitive rowing session on a lake somewhat near our store. The bindery owner, grandfather, delivered her and returned your two BCP/Hymnals all nicely imprinted to us.
While Nancy and I listened to Phil’s stories (the price of keeping him happy, and besides, his stories are good ones) Joe, Julie, and Geneva scurried around here, opened cartons, changed invoice information, and closed the cartons with Todd’s and Ellen’s books inside. Joe has just left this ministry-which-is-the-store to transport today’s shipping to the Post Office.
You will receive your completed order before you need it on January 3rd.
Merry Christmas. There is a Santa Claus and he works at and owns the bindery.
With a happy heart,
Episcopal Bookstore, Seattle
I AM BOWLED OVER! I can't even tell you how this has made me see God at work in my life, even when I doubt it.
Thank you so much to everyone that made this possible, especially you and your co-workers, the bindery owner saint, and the rower granddaughter!
And obviously, you have a customer in St. …, Washington DC for ever and ever, AMEN!