Ours was very nice... we attended the 4:30pm Candlelight Service at our church on Christmas Eve, then returned for the 9am service on Christmas Day...
If you've had a chance to look at my earlier posts (since
Thanksgiving)... I've put a lot on here about our LOVE ORLANDO campaign that
was begun this past March when Christian author Bruce Wilkinson (Prayer of
Jabez) came and spoke one Sunday and challenged us to make a difference for the
newly homeless families in Central Florida (which had been highlighted in a
segment of 60 Minutes on NBC)... (I have links to the video of those segments if you scroll back to those postings... if you have a few minutes to watch them.)
Well... that weekend
that he spoke, our church members (in 3 services) pledged to contribute -- by the
end of the year -- $5.6 million (over and above our regular giving/tithes -- a real
miracle in a time of recession and the highest unemployment Orlando has every
experienced) to help those families who had recently lost their homes in our
area... it has been an AMAZING 9 months!
Anyway... after our two morning
services yesterday, we had 1,000 boxes of food to be hand delivered by our
members to famlies who had been identified by the children's schools I believe
(the families had been notified they would be getting them)... so we volunteered to deliver a box after the 9am service... we were handed a piece of
paper with an address and the names and phone number of the family we were to
deliver our box to...
I had also put together a Christmas gift bag containing
some of my cookies, a tin with some candies, some hot chocolate mix, one of my
Christmas cards, and a Christmas mix CD I had made... to go along with the
box of food when we delivered it.
We got to the address, less
than a mile from our church, and in a poor, primarily black section of town...
only to find the house entirely empty... we could see in the windows and confirmed that no one was
living there... absolutely nothing on the bare floors, etc.
So we headed back
to our church to report the situation and get another address... the second
house was about 2 miles from our church... same type of neighborhood... however,
as we got into the neighborhood we noticed that several of the homes were
completely boarded up... we got to the address we had been given only to find
that it too was one of the boarded-up homes... across the street, there was a woman outside at a
vehicle in her driveway and we spoke to her and
told her we were there to deliver a box of food to that house and she confirmed
that no one was living there. So we did the next logical thing... we asked her if she could use the box of food
which she said she could so she was the recipient of the box as well as my
Christmas giftbag full of goodies... I know God will bless whoever got it...
but it was very sad and disappointing to think that the two families we tried to
deliver to were not even in their homes anymore... It just makes me wonder where they are now... in a homeless shelter, living in a relative's garage, or worse, on the street.
There are so many ways we can help one another... please find a local charity whose work you admire and volunteer... and please continue to give, give, give to the food banks! This need is the greatest it has ever been in Orlando/Central Florida.
I pray you have a wonderful year in 2012... our church's theme this year has been A Passion for God... next year it is A Passion for People... I think we've already got a pretty good headstart on that one... I can't wait to see what He's going to do through his people in the coming 12 months!