Captain's Corner - Christmas from the Heart
Christmas evokes many emotions within me. Emotions of anticipation for all the beautiful traditions I have with my family, excitement to see my children open gifts that I have planned and saved for, hiding many months in advance, and joy to share in some special times with friends. There is one sound that evokes a different emotion within me and that is the sound of a ringing bell. There is only one time a year when that bell begins to ring in my world as a pastor of the Salvation Army and that is Christmas. When I hear that bell ring my heart begins to fill with anticipation of what is to come. A short season filled with gathering funds through the kettles to serve others through the year and gathering toys through our Angel tree program to bless families in our community.
I spend hours sorting through our Angel tree applications, planning gifts, organizing the toys, and putting them together for the families that requested them. Long days and long nights are spent working hard to organize this in preparation for the day families will line up outside our doors at the Stillman Sawyer family services. They will walk through and receive their bag of gifts for the children’s Christmas morning. Though my interaction with them is brief, I know their names and I know their children’s gift wishes because for months I have been pouring over their applications, and their gift wishes. Packing the bags that they will receive with love and hope that when their children open their gifts, they will feel excitement, joy, and gratitude that their parents provided Christmas for them.
So as that bell rings and my heart builds in anticipation for all that is to come, one of the greatest emotions I feel, is gratitude. Gratitude for the community and the generous givers who take the angel tags and shop for these children, gratitude for the gifts that are donated with a special child in mind, and gratitude because without such a generous community so many children would not wake up with joy bur rather sadness and disappointment.
So, when you hear that bell know your generosity will change at least one little child’s world this Christmas morning.
And thank you.