26 December 2008


I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas celebration and that each had a moment or two to reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas—the celebration of the birth of Jesus. “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” [ISAIAH 9:6 NLT]
My Christmas wish to all may be a bit late, but sincere nonetheless—May God’s light always shine brightly on you and yours. (Thanks, Joe, for that phrase.)

The past few weeks have been a blessing and a learning experience. The Lord selected me to fill an opening in the office at the Salvation Army in my town. What an honor! There are so many people looking for work and Praise God, He selected me! Wow! I am so thankful for the privilege of serving Him in this way.

My “job” started at the peak of the Christmas season. The annual toy drive was drawing to a close. The parcels were at the participating vendors awaiting pick-up. After days of fetching then sorting toys by boys/girls and age, bags were filled according to the applicants’ children’s ages, gender, and special needs, if any. On Thursday and Friday (18th & 19th), the toys, food boxes, and turkeys were distributed.

Since this was the first Christmas under the command of the new officers and the program was different from the previous years, we expected to make a few mistakes here and there. Through participation, I wanted to capture the Christmas spirit and be joyous. I wanted to see happy parents with gifts for their children, some who might otherwise not had anything to wrap and place under the tree. I expected frazzled co-workers and volunteers; everyone worked so hard in order to prepare for these two hectic days.

What I really hoped for was the spirit of thankfulness and giving of the heart. I’m sure there were many grateful parents amongst the crowd. However, we only heard from the unhappy ones. The complaints and disappointment rang louder than the quietly mumbled “thanks” offered as people left with loaded car-trunks and pull carts. The atmosphere of entitlement was heavy. Yes, the program was not like previous years. Yes, it didn’t run like clockwork. What saddened me the most was the lack of support and respect for the new officers. (In my opinion) it wasn’t right that the officers were talked down the way they were. A sense of order must be established when dealing with such a large volume of people. Rules are set forth for a reason: to maintain order and control—and they must be adhered to. Each person must be treated equally and fairly. Although a day was set aside to make exchanges/returns for mistakes and/or inappropriate choices, some exceptions were allowed and corrections were made immediately. Regardless, the officer in charge was accused of being cold, uncaring, and insensitive. That is so unfair and inaccurate. The officers made a lifetime commitment of service to God and to others. As in the armed forces, the rank of Major comes only after many years of exemplary performance. The officer enforced the rules; others took offense. If exceptions had been made to everyone, it would have been mayhem.

I’ve learned this: We can’t help each and every person who comes in for assistance. It is just not possible. However, we do a lot for many. The charity work this Church does makes a huge difference in the lives of the recipients. We cannot be successful if we have no unity. We cannot be successful if we have no respect our leaders. We cannot maintain a joyful spirit if we have no love for one another. If underlying resentments govern our feelings and the lack of forgiveness exists, we will not effectively serve our community, the ministry will fall apart, and the evil one will be victorious. That thought makes me very sad.

Please join me in prayer and let’s go to the Lord and ask for unity within our group, to share the Love of Jesus Christ with each other as He commands us to, and spread it to all whom we serve; and that the true meaning of Christmas--the birth of our Lord and Savior--is celebrated every day of the year.


Matthew 20:28: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

John 15:9,12: [9] “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. [12] This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.

Ephesians 4:1-6 “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each others' faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

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