The Christmas spirit is in full swing and everyone is hustling around to get last minute gifts (or for me, just barely started) and filling their pantries and refrigerators with lots of cooking and baking supplies. On almost every channel, commercials scream out their last minute holiday “deals,” encouraging us to run a little faster, eat another cookie, spend a little more. The Christmas cantatas are here, the in-laws are coming, and the kids are done with school.
Life buzzes like a live wire of tension, excitement, and stress. Can we take a moment for self-reflection?
Late at night, I like to sit near the Christmas tree, looking over the familiar ornaments and the glowing lights. There’s a sense of timelessness, a peace that it exudes, reminding me of the reason for this celebration. One night, many years ago, a baby was born, light into the darkness. Through His birth and perfect life, He did what no man ever could; He saved us and welcomed us into His family.
1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are no longer waiting outside of God’s grace. Instead, we are embraced as His children and welcomed to the celebration.
For individuals with disabilities, the holiday season can be difficult. If their family is far away or unable to travel, they may find themselves spending Christmas day, not with their family of birth, but the family they’ve built for themselves. That’s where Echoing Hills comes in.
On Christmas day, the individuals who live in our residential and community homes wake up just like normal (well maybe a little earlier than normal) to see what presents are under the tree. In the lead-up to Christmas, staff finds out what people might want and sign up to shop for the individuals so everyone has something to open on Christmas morning. Then the fun begins. Employees and their families come to hand out gifts, bring special treats, and take pictures. It’s a chance to have a party and to play games all day. Christmas in the residential centers is a day of celebration, just like it should be.
Psalms 68:5-6 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing.”
The purpose of Echoing Hills for over 50 years has been to create opportunities for people to know and experience Jesus Christ. To experience Jesus Christ is to feel the love and compassion He showed. It’s to have a family when your family can’t make it. It’s making sure everyone is included during this holy season. It’s why we do what we do.
We wish you a blessed and peaceful holiday season! May your gifts be anything but fruitcake!