November and December always seem to sneak upon us like a child scouring through the pantry at 3am in search of a snack. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky. All of a sudden, the light comes on and you know what's about to happen!
In local outreach, we actually start preparing for our holiday outreach opportunities in August. We are blessed with great relationships with many of our community partners, and we begin discussions early in the year so none of us are left scrambling as the months slip away and our holiday outreaches loom in the distance. We partner together to provide for many families through our Thanksgiving outreach
and our Christmas for Everyone
toy store--families who participate are identified and vetted through our partner agencies and local schools. Additionally, we are blessed that many organizations, businesses, and individuals provide gifts, toys, and financial help for our Christmas for Everyone event. It really is a community effort to care for those in need.
All of these connections help create a culture of excitement and joy among our community partners, our volunteers, and our staff. It really is the most wonderful time of the year for us, as we prepare to share the love of Jesus with those who are less fortunate in our community. But some people might ask, "why should we give to those in need? Can't people take care of themselves?" There are many biblical answers of course, but around the Christmas season it seems especially clear.
Look no further than Joseph and Mary
..tired, maybe hungry, in need of a place to stay. And while we don't know all the exact details, we do know someone had compassion on them and provided a manger to lay down their newborn Son. Someone saw their need and responded by helping. Mary was a pregnant teenager, and Joseph must have felt desperate to provide for his growing family. God used someone to meet their needs.
And why Jesus? Because we had a need. We were in need, all of us, and God provided for us exactly what we needed: A Savior to bridge the gap of separation created by sin in the world. That's what the Christmas story is all about: God giving to us in our most desperate of needs.
In a similar way, God invites us to join Him in providing for those in need around us. We have several ways you can serve with us here
at Bethel in November and December. Just as God provided to us through His gift of mercy and grace, may our gifts to those in need bring light, life, and hope! May we, being rooted and grounded in His love, not just know the love of Christ, but share it freely with those around us.
We are to be Light in the World.
Jesus is not a secret to be kept hidden.
We are the church, made to be light-bearers.
Pick an opportunity and go let your light shine, thus sharing the Good News with great joy!