Now in the Christmas spirit

By Debra Whittington

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:34-40

I was in a local store picking up a few essential items when I wandered over to the Christmas display section. A friend of mine, who is also an employee of the store, was putting Christmas stock up on the shelves. “I just can’t get into the Christmas spirit,” she told me. “I didn’t last year, either.”
Evidently the store wasn’t in the spirit either as they were still putting out Christmas stock in November when other stores had all of theirs up in September. Somehow, all of the trimmings and other items seemed to lack something. Usually, I am enthralled with Christmas decorations the minute they are put out and can hardly wait to plan my Christmas theme for the season. No, I am not Scrooge, but I feel as though I already celebrated Christmas.

At our church, we start Christmas in early October when boxes are placed on the front pew along with ages of young children ranging in age of two to thirteen. Each box represents a child in Mexico who barely has the necessities of life with little money left over for gifts. Members of the church take one of these boxes and a slip of paper with a child’s age on it and go shopping for the child.

On his mission trips to Mexico, Mark told me about these little children who are so loving. They appreciate everything given to them, which makes it a joy to shop for them.
As I made my selections, I commented to myself that the item was for my little boy or girl. Even though I probably will never meet these children, for a little while they were mine. I will always feel a connection to them because I had the privilege to do something for them.

On Sunday, we presented our boxes at church. From little toddlers to senior citizens, we brought our boxes and placed them at the front of the church. Then we had prayer for the recipients of the boxes. It was such a joy to see all of those boxes and anticipate the look on the children’s faces when they open them.

These children are so grateful because they have so little. Most children in the US receive numerous gifts on Christmas. I remember the story of three little children who tore the paper off their gifts and flung them to the side. As they finished unwrapping they asked, “Is that all?” They didn’t even stop to examine their gifts, as they wanted more. No matter how much they received, it wasn’t enough.
We are blessed with so much while others throughout the world have so little. It is such a joy and privilege to help others. While we are through with the shoe boxes this year, there are so many other opportunities to help others. La Casa de la Hope is asking for coats for children. Angel trees offer names of children whose parent or parents are in prison who need help this year. In our own community are numerous people who are struggling to make ends meet and need a little assistance.

Members of First Baptist Church are kicking off the holiday season on Thanksgiving Day with a free dinner for anyone who wishes to come. Turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings will be provided. For those who are physically unable to attend, can call the church office at 461-2724 to arrange for someone to deliver dinner to them. Last year, over a hundred people attended the dinner.

Wherever you look, there is an opportunity this holiday season to give money, time, and more important: yourself. Make it a merrier holiday season and a blessed Christmas for someone this year.