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Wish lists of hope and love

Make a difference this Christmas for a child!

As I traveled recently, I noticed how evident that Christmas is almost upon us. Towns, big and small, have dressed their streets for the holiday –– lights, wreaths and banners shout Christmas is coming!

Christmas shopping has commenced. There are signs in the stores telling us how many days are left to find that perfect gift. It is a time filled with excitement, joy and hope.

One Wednesday evening as I entered the church where I would be speaking, I was transported to another place and time. Christmas music filled the hall as the choir practiced songs for the church’s Christmas program. My thoughts were taken back to Quankie Baptist Church where my dad led the choir and my mother sang with her beautiful soprano voice.

Dad spent weeks deciding which Christmas music the choir would sing.

Sunday morning, I would hear mom singing her parts as she cooked Sunday lunch before getting ready for church. The children of the church practiced their parts for the Christmas pageant for hours on Sunday afternoons.

Everyone was ready when the day came. All performed wonderfully, and at the end of the Christmas service we sang carols standing around the big adorned Christmas tree in the sanctuary. Every child received a bag filled with an apple, an orange and some candies –– special memories.

Many of you have called asking, “How can I help you make Christmas special for the children?” Sunday school classes have bought new trees and ornaments for several of our cottages. Others have scheduled to come and sing Christmas carols and provide a Christmas party for a cottage. Your calls have touched my heart. We cannot do what we do without you.

Like most children, I had a long list of wants and a short list of needs. My parents somehow made sure that I received something on my want list and a number of things on my needs list. At Baptist Children’s Home (BCH), our children have made lists of wants and needs. Thanks to you, we will make sure they receive a gift from their want list and a gift from their needs list. BCH’s boys and girls wish for things that other children wish for – a new bicycle, toys, clothes, and, of course, electronics. But their lists also include things that were never on my Christmas list, and probably not on yours.

“All I want for Christmas is for Mom and Dad to stop using drugs.” “All I want for Christmas is for the fighting to stop.” “All I want for Christmas is for my grandmother to get better.” “All I want for Christmas is for Mom to get out of jail.” “All I want for Christmas is for the abuse to stop.” “All I want for Christmas is a friend.”

The needs on this wish list are harder to provide, but we will do our very best to make sure every child has a Christmas filled with love and hope.

Your financial gifts during this time of year are vitally important. As you make your gift list this year, remember our children. Your gift sends a resounding “I love you” to every child in our care.

“For me!” Anna squealed. She opened the small box to reveal the necklace and locket her houseparents had seen her admire. Her hazel eyes filled with tears. You make moments like these possible. Your gift provided the funds to purchase this special gift. Thank you!

Thank you for praying and giving. Thank you for whatever you are able to give at this time. Every gift –– every widow’s mite –– makes a difference. Your gift enables us to be here with an open door and an open heart providing a safe place where a child can find the promise of Christmas – the promise of peace, hope and love.

From our home to yours, we love you and have a very Merry Christmas.

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