Too busy to blog lately, but I'm re-posting another Christmas blog from the arcives. This was originally posted Dec 22, 2006.
Last night I made a Christmas memory I hope I never forget. I went with my 18 and 16 year old sons to a Christmas party for about 400 "at risk youth" and their families. It was sponsored by Nashville's Youth Life Learning Center and included kids and staff from all five Life Centers in Nashville.
After the meal, it was gift time. Youth Life Learning Center director, Pastor James Lowe, was better than Santa in the gift giving department. I wish you could have seen the smiles on the faces of these kids when they were given brand new bicycles, skate boards and other gifts. One little boy even received a flat screen TV. When I asked James how he decided what gift to give to each child, James told me he gave them exactly what they asked for. When I asked how he paid for all these gifts, he pointed to the people serving the food and said, "Bethel church members."
These kids went home with much more than nice gifts and a great meal. Pastor James told them one of the best Christmas stories I have ever heard, with Jesus in His rightful place right in the center. I am so impressed with the Youth Life Learning Center staff and volunteers who selflessly serve "the least" as if they were serving Jesus Himself. The best part was knowing that this was not just a one-time-shot, but there is ongoing ministry to these kids, their families and their communities through the Life Center staff and Bethel volunteers.
Last night with the Life Center kids made me think of one my favorite Christmas traditions back in Manila. For as long as I can remember, our church, Victory, has received a Christmas Eve offering for the poor. In past years our Christmas Eve offering has helped orphans, typhoon victims, tsunami victims, and others in need. This year the whole offering will help students through our Life Scholarship fund. Please give as generously as you can this Christmas Eve. I am proud of the fact that the Christmas Eve offering is usually our largest offering of the year, and 100% goes to the needy.
Proverbs 28:27 He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.