But here at LifeWay, we’re all about holiday ministries, too. Some employees serve food at our local Nashville Rescue Mission; some help out with Salvation Army events; and others volunteer to help with Nashville’s Second Harvest Food Bank.
Every year, LifeWay helps collect toys and other personal items for the Nashville Baptist Association Toy Store. For 56 years, the association has opened its doors to lower income families to help those parents provide “a little touch of Christmas” for their children.
Our VBS team even chooses a ministry to sponsor each year instead of exchanging gifts.
But another ministry that I think is worth mentioning is the one that our Childhood Ministry Publishing department provides each year for the needy mothers who come to deliver their babies at the Metro Nashville General Hospital at Meharry. This Christmas tradition was started in the late 1980s or early 1990s by one of my coworkers, and when she retired, it came to me. So I have been organizing and overseeing this event now for at least 10 years or more.
Many times, homeless or low-income mothers come to this hospital with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and a “baby on board.” Sometimes they have more than one “baby on board.”
CMP’s part is to collect new everyday baby items like sleepers, diapers, wipes, blankets, booties, baby bottles, pacifiers, and personal grooming items. Then we make up gift bags that contain one of each item per bag. We deliver the bags to the hospital, and its wonderful postnatal staff decides who will get the bags on a greatest-need basis. And they usually go fast because of the increasing need, especially this time of year.
As far as I know, our department is the only group in Nashville that provides this service for these mothers, and we only do it in December. Being a government hospital with limited funds, I doubt that the hospital can afford to send lots of things home with these needy mothers. I would hate for us to ever skip a year because I’m sure the gift bags would be greatly missed.
So in your hustle and bustle this year, stop, take a deep breath, and think about the reason we celebrate this season. Look for ways to “give back to your community.” Be sure to thank God for all the blessings He’s given you, and feel the joy of being able to give to others out of your abundance. And, above all, remember the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 25:40: “I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me” (Read to Me Bible for Kids, HCSB®).
May each of you have a wonderful Christmas season, wrapped in the warmth of God’s love and grace. See you back on this same station in 2012 . . . and may it be a great year for us all!