I am celebrating my fifth Christmas at Amazonia United Methodist Church, and truth be told, each one has been better and more memorable than the last.
We had our annual Hanging of the Greens on Saturday (Dec. 1) — which, you know, is when members of the congregation decorate the church for Christmas. While we had advertised the activity in the weekly bulletin and on Facebook, I never know how many to expect. Well, 15 people showed up, and I was amazed at how quickly and efficiently they worked. Santa’s elves at the North Pole got nothing on our bunch!
Within two hours, they had dressed the church and prepared the building for Christmas. Afterwards, I passed out the lists for the Christmas families we would be adopting. Amazonia Elementary School had identified three families with a total of 10 members who really needed God’s love and some Christmas blessing this year.
Starting about four years ago, we began setting aside for local missions the offering given at our Christmas Eve service, and a prime focus for our local missions is adopting families at Christmas. We started at allocating $50 per person from that fund, then went to $75. This year we’re at $100 for each of the 10 people on our list. After they buy the gifts, wrap them, and bring them to church to distribute, our elves can turn in receipts to get reimbursed. Some do. Some don’t. Some spend more than the $100 allocation. It all comes back to how much each of us has been blessed this year and how much the Christmas spirit moves us.
Yet, I know that during the next two weeks as my congregation buys and wraps gifts, they’ll be serving as our Lord’s hands and feet. They’ll be living Christmas every day as they work to make Christmas more special for their adopted families. In the process. their Christmas will be more special, too.