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Let your love shine bright in the coming new year

By this time, you might be taking down the Christmas Tree, packing away the ornaments, and putting up all of the other Christmas decorations until next year. However, I want to ask you not to put away Christmas so fast. The decorations, yes go ahead and put those away, but the meaning of the season, the joy and the memories, no! Let’s place them in our heart for safe keeping to draw upon when we need them to direct us to make a difference, to care for others, and to offer the meaning and experience of a true Christmas. Let’s cherish these moments and lessons for our future and the future of others to come.

Charles Dickens captures the spirit of Christmas in his wonderful work A Christmas Carol. Dickens creatively illustrates the lesson of how to reach out to those in need through Tiny Tim— a small child full of courage and hope but who is dependent on others for help. The heart of Dickens’ Scrooge was transformed by the courage and love he witnessed this young boy share with all those around him. Scrooge’s whole life was transformed and he determined to make a difference by helping to change the life of others.

As we remember our past dating back to 1885, many Tiny Tim’s have walked through our doors. First, there was nine-year old Mary Presson who came in need of refuge and a home. Since Mary entered our doors, thousands of children have found refuge. This past year we touched more than 156,000 people. Children and families whose lives have been transformed by God’s love and grace. Everyday, children, families, and individuals walk through our doors in crisis. They are lives full of so much trauma—children of Christmas past and children of Christmas present.

What do our memories and lessons of Christmas past and present teach us about those we will be called to care for not only today but in the future? In Matthew 25, we read: “Whatsoever you have

done for the least of these, you have done unto me.”

This is our Christmas message— our challenge of Christmas past, present, and future. How many more will walk through our doors this year needing refuge, needing healing, needing home, and most importantly needing to know the love of God. We continue with a strong sense of commitment to strive to meet their needs and to point them to the One who does indeed transform. We do not do this alone. Thank you for walking this journey with us!

One of the ways you can ensure we are there for the future is through planning and preparing to leave a legacy gift. January is “Make Your Will Month.”