Lessons of The Angel Tree (Love…Just Love)

A few years back, the church I attended had an “Angel Tree.” I had the awesome privilege of helping organize the project. We gathered hundreds of gifts, items of clothing and groceries. Every child received several new toys, books, and a new outfit. Every family received a complete Christmas dinner. We boxed all the groceries, wrapped and labeled the gifts, and then loaded everything up to be delivered all over our area.

At one of the first stops, as we arrived at the house so did another church. We came bearing our gifts and were all left wondering the appropriate response as we saw these children who seemed to have plenty now receive even more.

Then later in the day we arrived at a house that was almost empty on the inside. There was no furniture, no Christmas tree, not even a bed!!! A dirty little mattress in the corner without sheets or pillows. A box for a makeshift table….that was it. That Christmas some kids wanted toys, books, and bicycles. However, these three children and their mom really needed pillows, blankets, coats!!!

We went back to the church, made a few calls and some from our small group headed back the next day with not only more toys and warm clothes, but a pantry and refrigerator full of groceries, pillows, blankets, sheets, toiletries and furniture items such as beds and a kitchen table and chairs.

All other families we visited that year for the Angel Tree Project had needs someplace in between these two “extreme” situations. But to each their need was just as desperate.

After the ministry was completed I sat with a broken heart as I thought of these…. that some are so very poor. I was truly moved by the need. But I was more broken hearted that there are some so poor in spirit. For sure those are often  harder to understand and minister to. We are most often blinded to their need because they are surrounded by stuff from whatever source they can find.

I desire to love the poor and the poor in spirit and help folks in need. Jesus gave me that desire and He so often allows me to see past the junk and distractions. There will always be those that seemingly have too much, take too much, or take advantage…but what if no one ever gave because of those few. Little children in Belmont, NC, USA would have likely been sleeping on the cold floor that Christmas season.

And what of the kids that seemed to have too much and still the parents sought for more? What is in a heart that makes one go to such measures? What kind of bondage? We prayed for them and loved on them and spoke into their lives just as we did all the families. That Word we spoke and prayed, the love we showed surely did a mighty work in all of our hearts….mine included. After all, God is Love.

I have been one of the poor and I have been the poor in spirit. I have been the parent that had to rely on others to give my children even one toy and a Christmas dinner.  I have been the parent that later gave mine way, way too much. I am so thankful God loved me and allowed others to love me in all my need!

❤️ Love…just love! ❤️

Jesus is the reason for the season.

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