We had 177 come to our 9 am service yesterday for our choir’s fabulous cantata. The sanctuary was almost full. But not nearly as full as it was the previous Thursday evening. The occasion was the Kids Stuff Christmas program. It had been snowing all afternoon. Still we had a standing room only crowd. Except for an occasional big funeral, the Kids Stuff Christmas program is predictably the best attended event held in our sanctuary all year.
My role is normally just to give an opening welcome and prayer. This year Carolyn Curtis asked if I would do a little more. Two boys had recently left Kids Stuff. Their parents had lost their jobs and their home and been forced to move in with relatives in another city. When Carolyn asked how we might help, she was told the boys needed winter coats and shoes that fit. I simply mentioned this family’s situation as part of my welcome and announced that we would be passing a collection plate after the program for any who might want to help.
We collected $469.28 from that initial offering. The next day, the money kept coming in. I just spoke with Carolyn about the latest. We now have $1077 in cash donations, not counting 4 winter coats, 2 pairs of jeans, and several books. What an amazing response! I’m not telling you this as an appeal for additional donations. I think this family is going to be sufficiently blown away already. I’m telling you this as one more example of something we already know. People can be incredibly generous when they know someone needs their help.
My latest book is The Martian. Now I have to see the movie. An astronaut is stranded on Mars with virtually no hope for survival. It’s a thriller. I won’t spoil the ending but I do want to share this from the last page:
” . . . every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are ********s who just don’t care, but they’re outnumbered by the people who do.”
That’s true all year long, but there’s something about Christmas that somehow taps into our predisposition to be generous in a powerful way. God gave us so much in that Bethlehem manger. It makes us want to give back.