In two days it will be Christmas Eve. In three it will be Christmas. It always comes quickly. We (at least I) always say, “It’s going to be different next Christmas.” And it probably will be because no two Christmases are alike. The one commonality is the hectic schedule. We all have much to do and yet Christmas preparations add another layer to it. And forever, I think we’ll be planning and plotting how to destress the season.
But what I am really thinking about this year is how pleased I am over the amount of giving I am seeing throughout the season. I feel there are more gifts being given, I have seen more people helped, and I sense people more in the spirit of the season than I have in Christmases past. While worship attendance in our regular services have been stronger in years gone by, I have seen more giving and helping in the community than I can remember in quite some time. Last night, for example, we had over 30 people participate in a Longest Night service (a 33% increase from the year before). We had twelve people show up to share Christmas with local children in an low-income elementary school. We had more gifts offered in our Angel Tree (presents for school children) than ever before. We also have sent gifts to troops overseas recently, collected coats for nearby schoolchildren, and sent clothes and food to Project Hope.
I believe we are blessed when we give. That is what Jesus taught us.
What better way to celebrate his birthday?
I hope all your preparations are coming to fruition. I pray that you have a blessed Christmas.
Tom Paine, Pastor