Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ho, Ho, Hope

It was a tender mercy. It started back in October when Jordan and I had the good fortune to be invited to dinner with friends. In the course of the evening our friends mentioned how much they enjoyed their ward Christmas party every year. As the activities committee chairmen, we(I) had been thinking hard about what were should do for our own ward Christmas party. A "good idea that had been successful in another ward" was just what I needed. We left that night with the phone number of Diane- the lady that had been organizing their party for years. I also left with a faint feeling of hope.

That's not to say that I knew that this idea was going to be a hard sale. Our own ward, filled with 'long-timers' had their own ideas of what our Christmas party should look like and I knew that this was not it.

We met with the committee. Diane came and gave us suggestions, encouragement and-yes-hope. We decided to go for it.

"We could spend a lot of money and energy to give ourselves another wonderful party,"we announced the next Sunday. "A great dinner. Fabulous entertainment. Or we could forget about serving ourselves and spend the money and energy on serving others."

The goal was to gather enough money through donations made by the ward to be able to shop for 10 kids and their families found through the Headstart Program. We told them the amount we would need to be able to make that happen. We asked for donations of non-perishable food items and toiletries. And for wrapping paper and tape. Diane came and told them about Headstart and the good they did for the community and the dire circumstances of the children in attendance.

And then we waited.

The sign up sheet for the food items, toiletries and wrapping paper donations was filled immediately. I wasn't surprised. Slowly, the cash donations to buy Christmas gifts for the children trickled in. I wondered if we would meet our goal. I worried that I was too ambitious with our numbers. I didn't want to have to tell the director at Headstart that we wouldn't be able to take on that many children. I knew I had to have...hope.

With three weeks to our deadline, the spirit of Christmas found it's way in to overflowing. The money kept coming. Families, couples and individuals asked to be "shoppers" for the gift lists, and busy moms volunteered to help with our breakfast preparation and the Primary Nativity program. The other couple on the committee did all of the decorations and all of the set up. If I didn't know better, I would say it was a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

First...there was the SET UP....
..and then the COOK UP (of waffles, fruit, sausage, and homemade syrup)...

...then came the EAT UP...
..the DRESS UP...
..the shopping and then back for the WRAP UP...
...finally culminating in the CLEAN UP!
In the end, we were able to shop for 28 kids and their families. It took several trips to deliver all of the gifts to the Headstart office. I would like to think that we were able to give a little bit of HOPE to those families, but as is always the case, the real gift is what the opportunity to serve gave to each of us.

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