How did this Christmas ever get so complicated? How is it that the preparations for one day, (yes, it really is just ONE DAY) December 25th, begin in early August? How did gifts of love get lost behind lists of demands? How is it that the strains of “Silent Night” get drowned out by the t.v. commercials shouting the latest and greatest sale? How did a story of love, hope and redemption become a story of stress, stuff and guilt? How did this “She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger” ever get replaced with a jolly but overweight man in a velour red suit drinking coca cola? Even the Church has become guilty of turning the simple and beautiful story of Christmas into an “over the top” production.
What if Christmas was Different this Year?
What if we talked about Jesus more than Santa?
What if we traded in complicated for simple?
What if we gave the gift of ourselves?
What if we believed Christmas can still change the world?
“It is not enough to say, “No” to the way Christmas is celebrated by many; we need to say, “Yes” to a different way of celebrating. Lets conspire to change the way we celebrate Christmas.”
This year our “Give More” project is to support a group of local men and women who faithfully provide a meal to those who need this meal because it is the most nutritious meal they will have all week and others because it brings other people into their life and without it they would be alone and lonely.
THE GATHERING PLACE
In 2003 Cheryl Bloxam felt convicted by the Holy Spirit to open a Soup Kitchen to meet needs in our community. And The Gathering Place was born.
The Gathering Place, a community built around a shared meal, began with 5 volunteers, pots of simmering soup and 3 guests. But from these humble beginnings, the community has grown. Today The Gathering Place serves between 70-100 people each week with the help of 20-25 volunteers. As finances allow, they provide a simple but delicious meal though sometimes soup and warm hospitality is what they are able to offer.
Lilian Wilkinson is The Gathering Place Co-ordinator and several of the weekly volunteers call KesPres home. Volunteers come from other churches and from the community at large.
So who comes to The Gathering Place? Those who are struggling to make ends meet, the working poor, families with children, single parents, seniors with inadequate pensions, unemployed persons, those who are lonely and seeking companionship for an hour each week. Many of these people are invisible in our community. Others are visible if we took the time to stop and see them.
Those who volunteer their time do more than meal prep, serve and clean up. They make The Gathering Place a warm community. They take the time to speak with the guests, to share a smile, to listen, to make the guests feel like they belong here.
Þ $2500 in cash or grocery gift cards
Þ Volunteers to help with the prep, cooking, cleaning on Thurs
Þ Volunteers to lead music at the dinner once a month
Þ Volunteers to help with a small group Bible Study
Þ Volunteers to work to establish community partnerships
Instead of giving yourself a little gift each day in Advent, please consider giving the gift of food and supplies to someone in need. Place an item in the box each day of Advent.
Pick up your box for the Food Pantry and then take time to wrap it before you begin as a reminder that you are “giving more” this Christmas. Follow along with the suggestions or see other side and then return your box between Dec 20 and Jan 7. As you place the item in the box read the passage and remember to give thanks.
If you would like to support our “Give More” project you can come into the church to pick up a box and begin filling for the Georgina Food Pantry or to make a donation to The Gathering Place (community meal) by clicking the “donate” button below. Thanks for sharing.