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.” Did you know that the majority of Americans die without a Last Will and Testament? Whether you name Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina to receive a portion of your estate or not, it is important to put your wishes in writing. Otherwise, the state will determine how your assets are distributed. Planning allows you to determine how you want to leave your legacy.
Consider preparing or updating your will using one or more of these accepted ways to make a bequest:
1. Denote a specific amount to be given to BCH.
2. Specify a percentage of assets to be given to BCH.
3. Indicate the residue of the assets to come to BCH.
4. Name BCH as the contingent beneficiary. This is a bequest made on condition that a certain event must occur before distribution to the beneficiary.
The following are considerations when planning a charitable bequest for BCH:
1. Unrestricted bequest: This is a gift for BCH’s general purposes – to be used at the discretion of BCH’s governing board.
2. Restricted bequest: This gift allows you to specify how the funds are to be used. It’s best to consult BCH when you make your will to be certain your intent can be honored.
3. Honorary or memorial bequest: This gift is given “in memory of ” or “in honor of” someone.
4. Endowed bequest: This bequest restricts the principal of a gift, requiring us to hold the funds permanently and use only the investment income.
The official legal bequest language for Baptist Children’s Home of North Carolina is: “I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, divide and bequeath to Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, Inc. [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose.” Anonymous gifts will be kept confidential. But, allowing us to recognize your gift can encourage others to do the same.
This year, as you begin your planning for 2023, will you place near the top of your list to find ways to make a difference in your world. Plan deeds of kindness for others. Take time to enjoy the abundant life God has given us. And each day celebrate God’s grace in your life and determine to share it with others.
Just as Scrooge transformed Tiny Tim’s hopes and dreams into reality, you have done the same for many Tiny Tim’s through the 138 years of ministry at BCH. Dickens reminds us that the spirit
of Christmas is the love of Christ! It is a love to be shared and lived out each and every day. It is my hope and prayer that the spirit of giving we have held close this Christmas season will burn bright in our hearts throughout the coming year as we care for “the least of these”—today and tomorrow.
Contact me at 336-689-4442 or firstname.lastname@example.org and learn more about how you can help give a legacy gift to ensure a better future for those we serve.
Written by Brenda Gray, Executive Vice President, Development & Communications