My most special memories of Christmas center around home and family. The smell of nutmeg and cinnamon filling the air as sweet potato pies baked in the oven. The brown grocery box filled with oranges, apples and candies. My younger brother Michael squealing “Get up! Get up!” at 4 a.m. and pulling me out of bed to sneak into the living room and peek at our presents.
Memories of Mom fixing a big breakfast of country ham, biscuits and red eye gravy. The times Dad took us to the nursing home to sing Christmas carols and deliver firewood to nearby shut-ins while Mom was busy preparing Christmas dinner. Memories of Mom making plates for Michael and me to deliver to neighbors.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to have a good home cooked meal with Mom. As I got up from the table, she put a plate in my hand to take to her neighbor.
It is not the presents that make my Christmas memories special; it’s my parents’ servant hearts and the example of generosity they lived before me that is unforgettable. The love they shared with us and others still brings such joy to me.
This Christmas, I want our boys and girls to have good memories about all of the wonders and excitement of Christmas. But how do you explain peace, hope and joy to a child who has never experienced it? How do you describe the wonder and excitement of Christmas to a child whose only shelter has been a bridge? How do you tell a young girl that the joy of Christ is for her when she feels alone and afraid?
When some of the children were asked about their special Christmas memories, Patricia remembered living in a shelter. She remembered a church group giving them presents. She also remembers her mom and dad selling them and using the money for their addictions.
Mary responded, “I don’t have a special Christmas memory. My dad is in prison and my mom struggles with drug abuse.”
Hannah’s memories are of being abused by her mom’s boyfriend; her mom died when she was 11 years old. “My best Christmas? I think this will be my best Christmas. This year I will be with people who really care about me.”
You help provide special memories filled with love and hope for the thousands we serve this year and the thousands we will serve in the coming year. I know these special memories are made possible through your prayerful and sacrificial support. Because of your support Patricia will remember eating delicious food and feeling safe. She will remember receiving gifts that will not be taken away from her – gifts of her very own. Hannah will remember houseparents who help her deal with the death of her mom and offer her a place where she can experience hope and begin healing. Now she can begin to put the past of physical and sexual abuse behind her. Mary will remember having family – a big family with houseparents and nine other girls to love her.
This year, 15,690 children and families will remember how they found hope and healing at Baptist Children’s Homes. Most importantly, those who made decisions of faith this year will remember that someone cared enough to share with them the true meaning of Christmas.
Yes, I want our children to experience stockings filled with surprises. I want them to be given a special truck or doll, to see the wonder of twinkling lights, to smell holiday food, and to cherish moments with their housparents and children in their cottages. But most importantly, I want them to experience the true meaning of Christmas. I want them to know that Christmas is not just a season that ends when the lights are taken off of the tree. I want them to know that the promise of peace, hope and love make each day a celebration of Christ within their hearts.
Will you give from your servant heart to help a child experience this Holy Season you so fondly remember? Will you give a gift this Christmas for an “extra” child?
We are so grateful for your love and support. Like the star that guided those traveling to see the baby Jesus that special night, you are lighting the way for our children as they journey toward the hope and healing promised by the gift of the Christ Child. Remember, your year-end gift is life changing.
From our homes to yours, our sincere wishes for a full and joyous Christmas.
Help us make this the best Christmas ever for those in BCH's care as we share the gift of God's love, hope and peace. For more information on how you can help sponsor a child for Christmas, call Brenda Gray at 336-474-1230 or make an online gift at www.bchfamily.org/givenow