It was a busy week in Bethlehem. The small town had ballooned in size as long lost family members returned, somewhat under duress, to pay the required taxes of Caesar Augustus. Roman soldiers were around to keep order. Many different languages filled the air from other parts of the world. Every available room in town was taken. After serving his guests, finally, the inn keeper could sit down, put up his feet, and relax for the evening.
Every year, I feel that similar pressure of the busyness of Christmas at The Salvation Army. The daily demands of the community multiply exponentially at this time of the year for us. People who have experienced hard times – loss of a job, health issues, breakup of the home, homeless – need a little help, a little hope. In the greater Charlotte area that request came from over 6,400 families knocking on our door hoping beyond hope that perhaps we can help them. This year through the generosity of the community we were able to provide toys, clothing, food, and yes, hope to those families with over 10,000 children.
The inn keeper in Bethlehem heard the knock on his door at the busiest time of his year. He surveyed his resources and said to Joseph and Mary there was no room. But wait, this poor girl is about to have a baby. She needs help and hope. He remembered the stable and offered it to that little family. Through his kindness and generosity, hope came to the world. God showed his ultimate love for all mankind by coming in the flesh as a little baby to be our savior and friend.
As you remember the reason for the season this Christmas, I want to say thank you from the Salvation Army for helping us help others this year. We could not “Speak Hope” in our community without your generous support as partners in this ministry. Your financial gifts and volunteer hours expand our capacity to meet the needs of hundreds of people who knock on our door today and every day.
God bless you, Merry Christmas, and may you have a happy and blessed New Year.