Home » Blog » We all need a Polish grandpa! We all need the Christ Child.

We all need a Polish grandpa! We all need the Christ Child.

I know it was the tagline – Polish Grandpa Learns English – that made me click on the Christmas commercial for Allegro that was appearing on Facebook. When you have a last name like mine, you are bound to be curious. Add to that the comments of previous viewers — “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to hug this guy when it is over,” and I was hooked.

The commercial starts inauspiciously enough. A stately Polish gentleman watches at the window of his modest home as the box arrives with his order from Allegro (the Polish version of eBay). Inside are an English for Beginners book, headphones and other items enabling him to utilize a computer for the learning process. Eventually, he turns to Allegro again and orders a suitcase.

Cherished memories of my own Father – an amazing Polish Grandpa! With his granddaughter Beth (Tomaszewski) tucked under his arm, Grandpa Tomaszewski assists in lighting the candles at a summer birthday celebration.

In between the deliveries, he practices saying English words and phrases out loud — in the quiet of his home, as he makes his way on the subway, even in the bathtub! Post-a-notes galore with English words in bold print are attached to the corresponding items in his home, including one on the dog.

This goes on for months. This man is dedicated.

By now, I hope you are thinking (as was I), what is motivating this man at his age to learn a whole new language?

Finally, we see where the suitcase takes him – to Britain at Christmas time, to the home of a young man, who you immediately assume is his son, given their fierce embrace. A petite African-American woman stands at the young man’s side. Within seconds, they all turn to a young child, who is on the verge of retreating into the safety of her bedroom as she spies the older man.

Like his efforts to learn English, the stately Polish gentleman is undaunted. He approaches the little one with great care, goes down on his knees and says to her in a gentle voice: “Hi, I am your grandpa.”

Young James (Tomaszewski) cuddles with his grandpa at a New Year’s Eve pajama party.

If you are wondering what God’s love incarnate looks like, watch this commercial.

If you are worrying about what is the best gift you can offer this Christmas, think about presence and not worry about presents.

If you are searching for the Christ Child, look inside and find the part of you that is brave enough to learn a new language, that is able to kneel down and meet someone face-to-face, that is willing to move outside your own comfort zone to be “I am” for someone you love, for someone you need to love, for someone in need of love.

We all need a Polish grandpa. We all need the Christ Child. May you discover both inside of you this Christmas. Merry Christmas! Blessings on your efforts to incarnate God’s love in this world.

You can find the commercial here.

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Sister Dawn Tomaszewski

Sister Dawn Tomaszewski

Sister Dawn Tomaszewski was elected General Superior of the Sisters of Providence in 2016. She has been a Sister of Providence since 1975. Previously she ministered as a teacher, as communication and development director for the sisters and their ministries and as a member of elected leadership on the general council of the Sisters of Providence.

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  1. Avatar Mary Heins on December 21, 2019 at 6:27 am

    Lovely! Thank you, Sister Dawn!! Very inspiring.

  2. Avatar Peg Benson on December 21, 2019 at 8:54 am

    Still waiting for Ancestry to tell me just how Polish I am, but whatever, this resonates! Let’s suggest a full movie of this lovely Pole, his home and environs. Thanks for the hilarious word-surprise at the end. I commend you for not giving a caveat to “sensitive listeners”. I will continue looking for and trying to be Christ Child to all I meet, especially over Christmastime. Wesolych Swiat!

  3. Avatar Mike Brennan on December 22, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Thank you Sister Dawn, and for the photo of your Dad with young James. I remember your folks, along with Auntie Jo and Uncle Bob, with much love, and every morning I remember Lenny in my prayers. I pass by your old house on Farragut often because all the Brennan kids have been helping out my Mom who just completed six months of treatment for a tumor and is doing well. More info coming in my (always tardy) Christmas letter. Fond memories of Christmas at the Woods and Sister Sue’s beautiful choral performances. Much love to you and all the Tomaszewskis this Christmas and a very happy New Year!

  4. Avatar Susan Paweski, SP on December 26, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Weselych Swiat and Sto lat! I was so fortunate to know and love my four grandparents. Family is a gift and this article certainly holds that up to us. Thank you, S. Dawn!

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