Church, we have almost concluded a Christmas Season!
On December 8 we handed out 50 gifts and entertained 170+ people. From this, we may start up a street hockey drop-in or something similar. Please pray that whatever happens, we continue to reach out to our community.
Throughout the following week we connected with 4 families from Marlborough Elementary who appreciated the thoughtful gifts many of you put together for their children.
On December 10 we delivered 30 gifts to Discovering Choices II that the teens were so happy to receive and the teachers were extremely grateful to have had our help with.
Today we served a full turkey sit down dinner and handed out gifts to many of our friends that frequent our Wednesday Lunch.
I wanted to tell you a little bit about today. This was our third Christmas Wednesday Lunch and the most hosts (19) that we have ever had. Every year, we need to think ahead about how handing out the gifts will work, but the last two years have been easy as we have been able to have a gift opening during lunch. This year, due mainly to our growing and varied relationships with people, we handed out gifts privately to our friends. Some of this happened as they walked out the door and some of this happened at the end of lunch or in a different room.
At one point, the majority of people were visiting in the gym, doing dishes and cleanup. There was a big group of people outside doing something unusual. (Feel free to ask the staff about this particular activity). Dustin was in his office praying with someone who had asked for prayers. Jonathan was in the auditorium arranging chairs with the teens from Discovering Choices II who had volunteered to help do so; the last time the chairs had to be moved, it took Jonathan about 3-4 hours to do, this time it took 20 minutes! Michiko and I were saying goodbye to visitors at the door and strategically handing out gifts, which requires a lot more thought than this simple sentence suggests. Kelly was in a classroom sitting with Leonard who was opening up gifts from our church and both of them were crying. Kelly often cries at Christmas so that wasn’t unusual, and Leonard may have been crying for a variety of reasons, but we believe one reason he was emotional is that he feels unconditional love from our church. That was one reason it was great to see him proudly wearing his toque that proclaims we love him!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Love is the reason Jesus came as a helpless babe and love is the greatest tool we have to participate in God’s revolution!
So, while not everyone got to see the outcome (ie. Leonard’s emotion over your gifts), we want everyone to know they were part of the love that was shown to hundreds this Christmas season. We thank you for working tirelessly and selflessly with us to share God’s love with so many who need to know that they are loved no matter what has happened in their life.
It’s wonderful to know that while we are, sometimes necessarily, focusing on the tasks that need to be done, God is doing the emotional work that is required to change people’s hearts and draw them close to Him. Please continue to pray:
for our neighbourhood to know that they are loved,
for our congregation to continue to find ways to show God’s love,
that you will sense God’s Spirit nudging you into greater love, sacrifice and service for His Kingdom.
Here is a thank you card from one of our friends today:
Just a note to thank you and the volunteers for all of the wonderful lunches we have had this year. I hope that all of you have a lovely Christmas and all the very best for the New Year. Many thanks for making us feel welcome and cared for. I have always felt that I was considered one of your family.
Merry Christmas! Hope Pawlak