By Jo Ann Carpenter
A couple weeks ago we had a special pizza party for the men at the shelter. It is a tradition we started years ago. We have a party the day after Thanksgiving and decorate the mission Christmas tree for a fun evening.
The Christmas tree sits in the dining room for everyone to enjoy. A faithful volunteer (thanks, Mel!) decorated the rest of the dining room and the tree is a lovely addition to our décor.
While decorating trees with the men over the years I have heard many stories of bad memories from the holidays and life in general. Most of us have heard the Grinch Who Stole Christmas story. If you remember the Grinch had been hurt and had bad memories of life and it carried over into his Christmas spirit as well.
One thing we try to do at Refuge of Hope is build upon the good things in our lives right now. Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth and everything that means to us as Christians. To me personally, that speaks of God’s deep love for us, and Christ’s example of that love!
That is why we try to make each meal served to a guest an event, each holiday special, and share the love of Christ with everyone, every day!
And… by the end of the tree decorating party most of the men participated in helping with the lights, hanging the bulbs and the tallest man placed the star on the top of the tree. Then when I asked who wanted to get their picture taken by the tree… well, see the pictures for yourself!
I pray your Christmas is filled with happy memories of the past counting the blessings God has given you today!